Subwoofers make bass, that's easy. But really high-quality affordable subwoofers are surprisingly rare. The big problem facing subwoofer designers is the pressure to make really small subwoofers. That's not to say small subs can't make bass, they boom and thunder all right, but the sound tends to veer to the muddy side of accurate. That can sound acceptable for home theater duty, where nuance and subtlety aren't always big priorities.
So sure, a 1-foot cube sub can get the job done for a home theater, but can it define the sound of a 1962 Fender Precision Bass? Can it play music and let you really hear what's going on in the bass? No way! For that you need something a bit more substantial: a large subwoofer. Big subs also make their presence known in home theaters, where their sound has the gravitas no minisub can match. Oh, but most large, high-performance subs come with heavyweight price tags.
That's why I'm jazzed about the $799 Epik Empire; this bad boy boasts two 15-inch woofers; a Class D 600-watt (1,500 peak watt) power amplifier; in a 22-inch-high, 18-inch-wide and 24-inch-deep cabinet. The Empire's 120-pound weight might be a not so subtle indication that it's solidly built.
I briefly spoke with Epik's founder and chief designer, Chad Kuypers, Thursday. He's a no-nonsense kind of guy, and he told me he's working on some really cool larger and slightly smaller subs, but for now he's just offering one model, the Empire. Epik Subwoofers is located just north of Chicago, Illinois, where they build the subs, including fabricating the precision CNC machined cabinets in-house.… Read more