Sugg. Retail: $1000 CA
Size: 17″W x 18″W x 16 1/2″D
Manufacturer: Audio Products International Corp., 3641 McNicholl Ave., Scarbrorough,
Ontario, M1X 1G5
(416) 321-1800 FAX 321-1500
(Reprinted from the Fall 2004 Audio Ideas Guide)
The new subwoofers from this company are relatively small, though the S12.3 is larger than the new Paradigm Seismic 12 with a similarly-sized driver (The Paradigm Seismic 12 is also reviewed in the Fall 2004 issue). The S12.3 comes in a black ash finish with a black grille cover, a volume control with a bright blue LED below it at the top of the front panel showing through the grille cover.
On the rear panel we find stereo speaker level inputs, but just one line level RCA. There are crossover and phase level controls, and toggle switches for crossover bypass and auto or switched power on/off. It’s nice to have the front-panel volume control, since that’s likely to get the greatest use.
Like those at Paradigm, the Energy engineers have been working on developing new drivers and other subwoofer technology in the wake of winning a lawsuit on such technology with Bob Carver’s Sunfire a year or so ago that would have limited such technology in smaller subs had not API persevered. That’s why we’re seeing so many smaller subs.
The S12.3 uses a newly patented Elliptical Surround that “reduces speaker distortion from an average of 14% to nearly 0%, while increasing useable piston area and even includes exclusively designed ribs to eliminatesurround deformation”, according to the notes on the web site. The enclosure is bottom ported to use “the listening room floor as a loading surface.”
As the measurements demonstrate, this subwoofer goes very deep, and has some extra emphasis in the 25-Hz region. The lower single curve was measured from 10-1000 Hz at the highest crossover setting, while the top one shows response starting at 20 Hz at settings of high, mid, and minimum crossover. Of course, these measurements represent our quite large room, and experience has shown that it does provide quite accurate subwoofer and speaker curves.
The S12.3 is down only a couple of dB at 15 Hz, relative to 100 Hz, as shown in the lower curve, and is +/-2 dB at its highest crossover setting from that frequency to over 100 Hz. In other words, it’s a mover and shaker of a sub that will match well with a wide variety of larger and smaller speakers, its upper rolloff high enough to accomodate even minimonitor speakers with little response below 100 Hz.
I found the S12.3 to really kick butt, and its powerful bass was very impressive for its price, with high SPLs not a problem.