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GoldenEar SuperSub X: Bass this bombastic has no business coming from such a tiny box

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, and I blame Sandy Gross and his team at GoldenEar technology. I am convinced no other U.S.-based loudspeaker maker is offering a better value in high-end audio, and I’m running out of ways to say it. Still, every time I visit GoldenEar’s demonstration room at CES or pull in another pair of its speakers into my evaluation system for review, I arrive, inexorably, here. This awkward, somewhat frustrating place, where I have to invent new ways of explaining to readers that all the hype these speakers get is totally well-deserved, and, by gum, you really have to hear this stuff to believe it.

Look, it’s true. GoldenEar is on to a formula that just works, and while the latest loudspeakers coming from the company are more of an evolution than a revolution, the new SuperSub subwoofer GoldenEar showed off at the show? It’s going to send shock waves through the industry — pun fully intended.

As good as before, just a little more

This year at CES 2016, GoldenEar showed off the Triton Two Plus and Triton Three Plus, re-voiced versions of the already-popular Triton Two and Triton Three speakers. The price for each model is little bit higher — $2500/pair for the Three Plus and $3500/pair for the Two Plus — but for the modest premium you get a notable increase in overall performance. The midrange and bass drivers have been swapped to match what the company uses in the newer Triton One and Triton Five speakers, as has the speaker’s crossover network and the DSP programming in the amplifier, which powers the bass drivers.

I spent about 15 minutes listening to both new models, and I can confirm there’s a notable difference in the midrange character that matches what I’ve heard in the Triton One and Triton Five. As for changes in the bass performance and bass integration, I’ll take Sandy Gross’s word for it for now — he’s never misled me in the past — but I’ll certainly be exploring this area more deeply (again with the pun!) once I’ve received review samples. Otherwise, I enjoyed the same exemplary performance I’ve come to expect from GoldenEar’s Triton series during my brief audition. And, once again, I have to wonder how anyone could justify spending multiple times what these speakers cost when performance this outstanding is available at such a reasonable price.

Forget what you think you know about subwoofers

The all-new SuperSub X is going to force the rest of the home audio industry to follow a new path. We’ve seen sealed subwoofers pairing active drivers with passive radiators in the past, but not quite like this. The SuperSub X, looks a lot like the SuperSub XXL we recently previewed, but pairs two smaller 8-inch active drivers with two 10 x 11 -inch planar radiators, driven by a 1500-watt digital amplifier. This SuperSub, however, makes you question your understanding of the laws of physics. It seems inconceivable such forceful, linear, outright deep bass should come from a cabinet this small, and yet, it does.

To be clear, I’ve heard some impressive compact subs before from the likes of Sunfire and Paradigm/Martin Logan (specifically the amazing Monitor SUB 8). But the $1250 SuperSub X somehow supersedes them all in my acoustic memory banks by nature of the fact that it gets so incredibly deep and loud without sacrificing any other important bass performance aspects. I heard no port noise (because there is no port), no distortion, no driver noise, no cabinet vibrations, and no over-hang or sloppiness of any sort. I’m sure there are some criticisms to be made here, but I wasn’t able to come up with any during the short time I was able to listen to the sub rocking the Venetian Hotel room it occupied.

Sure, there’s a place for the SuperSub XXL — I imagine it reaches just a bit deeper to tickle your innards in a way the SuperSub X can’t quite manage. But when bass performance this profound is available in such a compact box, it’s hard to argue in favor of going bigger. And to be sure, this has got to be in the top five most interior decorator-friendly subs on the market right now — that’s a nice bonus, especially when space is at a premium.

If you get a chance to check out the SuperSub X, go prepared to be impressed. And don’t forget your credit card … you’ll probably end up using it.