D-Box Mini-Mammoth Subwoofer

      Date posted: November 24, 1998

D-Box Mini-Mammoth

Sugg. Retail: $1950 (CAN)
Size: 23″H x 23″W x 20 1/2″D
Manufacturer: D-Box Audio Inc.,
2180 De La Province, Longueuil, Que.
J4G 1R7
(514) 442-3003 FAX 442-3230

(Reprinted from the Almanac 99 Audio Ideas Guide)

      A year ago the Mammoth subwoofer dominated the cover of our first A/V Almanac, and now we have son of, a smaller powered version that attempts to put essentially the same performance into a smaller package. The essence of the original design was an 18″ electromagnetic driver in an enclosure designed to fully vent the backwave and really move air. I noted in that review that “the bass was full, effortless to a degree I’ve never heard before outside an IMAX theatre, and integrated superbly with the full-range output of my Energy Veritas 1.8s. Everybody who heard this subwoofer came away impressed by its authority, ease, and power.

      The Mini-Mammoth is more conventional in that it has a built-in amplifier with rotary controls for Level, Low-Pass Crossover, and Phase. These controls are duplicated by Up/Down buttons on a remote control, which also offers a Power button, and a Movie setting. All three pots on the amplifier are motorized, and rotate when you press the buttons. Thus, complete control of the sub is possible from the listening position. D-Box Mini-mammoth Subwoofer

      The driver itself is a 15″ paper cone woofer in a similarly vented box. Though it has its own crossover, I also measured the Mini-Mammoth with the Energy EAC crossover (the lower chart). The top chart’s group of measurements were made with only the sub’s own crossover in circuit. The top curve shows the effect of the Movie contour, which seems to simply increase subwoofer level by about 3 dB across its range. Below are full and half rotation of the Crossover control; clearly its main effect occurs in the lower half of its range, the minimum setting shown at bottom.

      On its own, the Mini-Mammoth, like its parent, offers more bass power than reach, in the minimum setting down 4 dB at 30 Hz and about 8 dB at 20 relative to 100 Hz, and down 7 dB at 30 Hz relative to the peak at 60 Hz. This gives us a tolerance of +/-3 1/2 dB between 30 and 100 Hz. Frankly, I’d like a little more deep bass oomph for my organ pedals and hall ambient signature. Actually, the Movie setting has the best extension, flat to 35 Hz relative to 110 Hz, down less than 3 dB at 30. D-Box Mini-Mammoth Frequency Response #2

      Luckily, extending and smoothing response is very possible, as it was with the Mammoth, by using an outboard electronic crossover, specifically our Energy EAC, and the bottom set of curves was taken with it in circuit. It can immediately be seen that these curves are much more linear. The top one was made with the Mini-Mammoth crossover wide open (150 Hz) and the EAC at about 1/3 rotation (70-80 Hz), which makes the sub about +/-3 dB from 30 to 100 Hz. With the EAC set at 1/4 rotation (60 Hz) we get the middle curve, which is +/-2 1/2 dB between 30 and 100 Hz, and down only 3 dB at 20 Hz, with significant energy to about 16-18 Hz. This is real subwoofing! And by backing off the Mini-Mammoth’s own crossover to half rotation, we get the bottom curve, which reduces the energy above 50 Hz by about 2 dB, making the sub +/-2 dB from 30 to 80 Hz.

      That’s the way I most enjoyed listening to the Mini- Mammoth, getting an ideal combination of sheer air-in-motion power and deep bass heft. This is a subwoofer that does just about everything the Mammoth can in a smaller (though not small) box, and does it loud and clean, with dramatically lower harmonic distortion than any other subwoofer I’ve heard. It’s about as clean as it gets.

      In fact, you don’t really hear this subwoofer: you just hear bass…deep bass. The Mini-Mammoth disappears acoustically when used with an outboard electronic crossover that can bring its crossover point down far enough to eliminate directionality altogether, to about 50 or 60 Hz. A dramatic demonstration of this is possible using the remote control. All you have to do is put on a recording with lots of deep bass and turn the sub off while playing. Not only does the deep bass disappear, but also the foundation of the soundstage, the sense of space that the lowest octaves provide.

      The remote control is also useful for setting parameters, including phase, on the fly, as it were, from the listening position. Though in my system the EAC provides the same capability, I also found the Mini-Mammoth remote quite useful. The Movie setting was a handy way of adding some instant oomph over the whole bass region, say, for LPs that had been rolled off in the cutting room, while low-pass adjustment for individual recordings was also a handy option for fine tuning the blend of sub and speakers.

      Like the Mammoth with its 18″ electro-magnetic driver, the Mini-Mammoth moves a lot of air with its 15″ driver and through its large ports. This gives it a different quality than most other subs in the way it pressurizes the room; you get the same feeling as that when the pressure wave from a well-whacked real bass drum rolls over you, or the feeling of an organ pedal note’s sheer physical power, though in the latter case, it does lack that sense of the subharmonics from the beating of the deepest notes in the church space. Unfortunately, for that you’d need a pair of Mini- (or full-sized) Mammoths, as well as a really big room. Dream on.

      If one of these superb subwoofers will do, have a listen to the Mini-Mammoth. Except for its pachyderm parent, It’s unique.

Andrew Marshall

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