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Kaplan's Korner

September 3, 2020

Summer of the Subwoofer

Harbeth

By Jim Kaplan

As I’ve social distanced in the RCN World HQ listening bunker, I knew the Harbeth P3E5R bookshelf monitor speakers I bought used were going to need a subwoofer. I know nothing about subwoofers. So, I started educating myself about the whole subwoofer thing on that vast repository of fact, the internet. That didn’t help. But I did notice a couple of manufacturers I respect mentioned REL subwoofers. And they didn’t seem to have any connection to REL other than digging REL’s subs because they work so well. I took it as a solid recommendation.

So, look, since we’re not taking the grandkids to Europe this year. I decided to blow the $600 I saved up for said trip on a REL t5i. And then because I am a junkie, I immediately bought another one with the other $600 I had saved. Sorry Grandkids. Have your parents take you to E Town.

For someone like me, who doesn’t really know anything, set up was interesting because even when the REL’s were not set up correctly they sounded pretty good. I mean, there was low base. But setting them up correctly became more obvious as I FOLLOWED INSTRUCTIONS. Then things seemed to dial in.

So, how do the REL’s sound? Plenty of low frequencies where once there were none. A very good thing. But that isn’t what makes me shiver. What has me amazed is I hear every instrument from cymbals on down. Individually. Not a smear of sound but each individual instrument. I think having two subs takes out some of my room problems too. It’s about guitars and pianos. And voices.

OK, here’s the deal. I’ve been listening to FZ’s Mothers Filmore East June 1971 LP since it came out. There is a line where someone sings the words ichigumi. I just love Frank for including made up words. Isn’t that crafty? WRONG. According to the REL’s the actual lyric is “Ansley Dunbar,” who then goes into a drum solo.

Thank you REL. My life is that much closer to perfection. My only wish is that I had discovered REL years ago. Also, there is a remark about air guitar in the online REL instructions. Tread carefully REL. Mock not the air guitarist. I have achieved air guitarist status. And can tell you. The REL’s make me dance and PLAY that imaginary guitar. Crazy good.

So, yeah, things are really good here. I hope things stay good with you too.

Happy listening.






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