It can be tough to integrate a subwoofer with any speaker system because woofer placement typically involves compromises between aesthetic and acoustic requirements. But Atlantic Technology’s new $899 10 CSB Corner Subwoofer, which incorporates a 180-watt amplifier and a 10-inch long-throw woofer, addresses both issues at once.
Why design a sub specifically for use in corners? Corner loading offers three clear benefits, and the 10 CSB leverages them all. First, by positioning the woofer where three reinforcing surfaces (back wall, side wall, and floor) intersect, corner placement couples bass energy to the room in an efficient way. Second, corner placement allows designers to optimize the sub for just one location whose characteristics are reasonably predictable. Atlantic says the 10 CSB is equalized to “take advantage of low bass room gain” that corner loading affords, but also to minimize excess mid-bass output that might accrue. Steve Feinstein, Atlantic’s director of product development, says that “room-imposed frequency response variations are lessened by the certainty of corner placement.” Finally corner placement brings aesthetic benefits, making the subwoofer seem less obtrusive by moving it to the edge of the room.
The 10 CSB features a downward-firing, 10-inch longthrow woofer that is housed in an extremely rigid, six-sided, acoustic suspension (that is, non-vented) enclosure. While acknowledging that other bass-alignment methods can also give good results, Feinstein says “we like the superb transient response and group delay characteristics afforded by a correctly executed acoustic suspension design.” Atlantic even pays attention to one small detail that some subwoofer makers overlook; namely, eliminating the potentially audible “cavity resonance” between the woofer and the floor. To this end, Atlantic provides a rigid, foam-damped chamber that surrounds the 10 CSB’s woofer and equips the subwoofer with a proprietary “reciprocal filter” designed to help counteract residual enclosure resonance. To complete the picture, Atlantic powers the 10 CSB with a clean, 180-watt amplifier. While the amplifier’s output might seem too modest for its own good, Atlantic is quic k to point out that its power ratings are conservative, and that the woofer benefits greatly from the inherent efficiencies of corner loading.
Thanks to corner loading, the 10 CSB’s bass reaches lower than its specifications suggest; there is usable (albeit slightly reduced)
output down into the mid-20Hz range. What’s more, the 10 CSB sounds unusually clear and offers excellent transient speed, so that it integrates easily and effectively with highperformance speaker systems. These qualities are particularly noticeable (and beneficial) in the potentially tricky midto-upper bass transition region where satellites would typically cross over to the subwoofer.
On difficult bass material, such as thepipe organ from the “Pie Jesu” movement of the Rutter Requiem [Reference Recordings], the 10 CSB impressed me with its overall detail and unexpected low-frequency reach. When I listened to various satellite systems in conjunction with the 10 CSB, the woofer created the uncanny illusion that the satellites were suddenly producing extended bass of their own. Thus, there was little if any sense that a sub was in play, which—if you stop to think about it—is one of the highest compliments a reviewer could pay to any subwoofer.
If you favor chunky, “steroid enhanced” bass sound, this probably is not the sub for you, nor is the 10 CSB the last word in very low frequency (20Hz–30Hz) output.
But if it’s clean, natural-sounding bass you seek, the 10 CSB’s wonderful agility can really bring bass textures alive. The 10 CSB is self-effacing in the best sense of the term; it enhances system bass response without constantly reminding listeners of its presence. That’s a good thing. TPV