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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Meuge's Avatar
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    Cool Dayton Titanic MkIII 15" Subwoofer Kit Review (w. Pics)

    Hi... This is my first post, and I hope to make it a good read for you guys. I've recently purchased and assembled a Dayton subwoofer kit, and I am here to share my impressions.

    Introduction

    The Dayton Titanic MkIII 15" Sealed Subwoofer Kit (300-764 - $688) includes the Dayton Titanic MkIII 15" subwoofer driver (295-420 - $189), and Dayton 1000W class G plate amplifier (300-808 - $349), as well as the pre-cut, pre-finished (rough black) and pre-assembled enclosure (~19" cube).

    Packaging/Assembly

    The kit arrives in 2 large boxes, about 50-55 lbs each. One of the boxes contains the enclosure, while the other contains the boxes with the driver, the amplifier, as well as 3 sheets of acoustic foam and the grill. Small parts boxes include the mounting screws for the amplifier, mounting bolts (5/32" hex) for the driver, the spikes (black chrome including floor pads), and the mounting hardware for the grill. It is also strongly recommended that you use 3M spray adhesive (340-255 - $9) to mount the acoustic foam, and that's the only thing that's not in the kit, which I had to order. The packaging is not excessive, but solid enough to protect the contents. Considering that both the driver and the amplifier are double-boxed, there is no reason to worry about shipping damage.

    The assembly instructions are included in the subwoofer manual and are succinct and easy to follow. First, you install the floor spikes (to mark the bottom of the cabinet. Then, you turn the subwoofer with the driver cutout at the bottom and install the amplifier. I recommend making sure at least 4 of the screws (all around) are set before tightening any of them. After installing the amp, you turn the subwoofer back onto its feet. Here comes the most time consuming (and difficult) part of the construction. I recommend making the measurements with a tape measure on the inside of the cabinet, cutting the foam, and putting the pieces inside to make sure the surfaces are covered and everything fits properly, before using the spray adhesive to mount the foam permanently. I recommend cutting the foam pieces slightly larger (1/4" or so) than the measurements, so they are nice and snug when compressed.
    It's recommended that you use a sharp utility knife to cut the foam, but I had good success with a razor sharp hunting knife. Mounting the foam using adhesive is very easy, as long as you don't breathe the adhesive into your lungs. After the foam is fixed in place, take the amplifier wires outside the cabinet and turn it over, so that the amplifier is at the bottom (be gentle and careful not to damage the controls on the backplate), strip the amplifier leads (about 1/2") and connect them to the driver, making sure to keep the polarity. Once that is done, ease the driver into the cutout and tighten the bolts (be careful not to apply much pressure straight down onto the bolts, so that you won't dislodge the T-nuts). Once the latter is done, all that is left is to install the grill mounting hardware, which uses a ball-and-socket design and is a self-explanatory process.

    Installation/Settings

    There is no receiver/processor in my 2-channel system, so I own an Outlaw ICBM-1 bass manager. This is an amazing piece of equipment for only $250 new. It's a 6.1 channel analog crossover (selectable 12dB or 36dB slope) in a rack format, that can output a true stereo subwoofer signal, and has separate crossover controls for every channel (40-120Hz in 20Hz steps), as well as LFE level adjustments. Here it is, sitting on top of my DAC:

    I feel that I have to plug this piece of equipment because of my experiences with it when I had the HSU VTF-2 subwoofer. Switching from using the onboard crossover on the sub to using the ICBM-1 had cleaned up the bass considerably. That, along with the convenience and the tweaking potential of its controls make it a must for anyone who doesn't have a processor with top-notch bass management.

    After some experimentation I determined that for my speakers (Klipsch RF3-II) which have a theoretical F3 of 37Hz, it's best to use a 36dB slope and a 40Hz crossover point. I used a 12ft DIY subwoofer cable, made of the Dayton microphone cable and Dayton RCAs. Because I was using the external crossover, I used the LFE direct inputs of the subwoofer to bypass the internal crossover.

    Sound Quality

    I've had the last few days to listen to the sub and I am very impressed with its sound quality. With some modifications and room compensation (using the extremely useful built-in parametric equalizer) the sub is flat down to 25Hz (when I mention numbers, keep in mind that my room is only 10x16), and the -10dB point is down at 19Hz. The bass is extremely tight, without a slightest hint of boom. I haven't tested the sub to its maximum SPL, but I've played music to 105dB peaks and the sub had no problem keeping up. Furthermore, I know there is plenty of power left, since the driver has a 20mm max excursion, and I haven't seen the driver move more than a millimeter so far.

    The drums sound crystal clear, punchy, tuned and have a very natural, quick decay. The bass guitar and acoustic bass are reproduced equally well. While much of the sound of these instruments is above 40Hz, the role of the sub in their reproduction is clearly seen if the sub is turned off. In short, it's probably as musical as I've ever heard a sub play.

    For home theater, the sub is quite awesome as well. Both Matrix and LOTR:ROTK sound wonderful. The Sauron demise scene in the latter has some of the deepest bass ever used in movies and I was positively sure that the tower was collapsing in my room.

    Pics:

    This is the amplifier plate. Note the gain setting is nearly at minimum. Also
    note the the parametric EQ, as well as the absence of high-level inputs/outputs.

    This is the front view of the subwoofer:

    Here's the sub sitting next to one of my RF-3IIs

    These are the photos of the grilles:


    And finally, here's a photo of my entire system:


    Conclusion

    This sub is a great piece of equipment. For a fair price and an afternoon of
    work, it offer performance that is equivalent to subs that are double the price
    or more.

    P.S. Just for reference, here's a photo of my equipment rack:

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Nice review, Meuge, love the pics...I'm about to order mine, but I think I'll build the cabinet my self to match my speakers...I built my folks the 12" Titanic MKIII and you're right about it easily outperforming subs costing twice as much...

    I never bothered to play with the Parametric EQ when I tested my parents out...was it difficult to figure out?

  3. #3
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    Yes very nice indeed!! You should put in some bass mechanic and crank that thing up see what she does!! The foam that you put inside the box is this required and what does this do? I am doing my own subwoofers also using 2 12" IDQ v.2 subs and 2 240 watt amps from parts express building my own enclosures, most likely sealed. Using these subs since they are sitting here not doing anything anyways! I'm kinda wishing they werent here, because if they werent I would probably get the same package you got! I bet that thing must HHHAMMMMERRRR

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Meuge's Avatar
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    Uo

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I never bothered to play with the Parametric EQ when I tested my parents out...was it difficult to figure out?
    No... as long as you have a rudimentary knowledge of the frequency response mechanics (that the dB scale is logarithmic and that a 10dB change is equivalent to a 2-fold change is volume, and that an octave is a 2-fold change in frequency). Armed with these simple facts, as well as a RadioShack analog SPL meter, you can tackle imperfections in the subwoofer's response curve.

    For example, if the room is small (such as in my case) and the subwoofer starts rolling off too early (say at 30Hz), you can use the Parametric EQ to boost the lower frequencies as follows. Use a center frequency that corresponds to your target tuning point (20Hz for me) and widen the curve to an appropriate interval (say 1/2 octave) and boost it up by 6dB. This will give you a 6dB boost from 15Hz to 30Hz. It's 15Hz because 20/2 is one octave down and equals to 10Hz. 20-10Hz = 10Hz and 1/2 of 10Hz is 5Hz, thus the boost will start at approximately 15Hz. As for 30Hz, it's 20Hz times 2 = 40Hz. 40Hz-20Hz/2 = 10Hz, and 20+10Hz = 30Hz, which is the starting point of the dip we're trying to correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by derekwwww
    The foam that you put inside the box is this required and what does this do?
    This helps reduce box resonances and standing waves within the enclosure. It's very important in order to maintain a smooth frequency response that is close to the theoretical response of the driver.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Meuge: thanks, I've toyed around with some other Parametric EQ's, and my receiver has a half-assed one that handles frequencies above 100 Hz or so...I was thinking of adding the Behringer Feedback Destroyer as a Parametric EQ, but I might wait to see how this does first.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Meuge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Meuge: thanks, I've toyed around with some other Parametric EQ's, and my receiver has a half-assed one that handles frequencies above 100 Hz or so...I was thinking of adding the Behringer Feedback Destroyer as a Parametric EQ, but I might wait to see how this does first.
    Just make sure you only the Feedback Destroyer in-line with the sub only. It's certainly not good enough sonically to be used in-line with the speakers. Also, there is no substitute for proper placement. A quick way to do it is to place the sub AT the listening position, then walk around the room and listen. Make note of places where the bass sounds tight, deep and loud, and where the frequency response is most linear. Then just choose one of those places to put the sub. Logically if the sub is at B and sounds good at A, then if sub is at A, it will sound good at B.

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Thanks, already did that...I have a few peaks at 24, 28 and 36 Hz specifically I'd love to eliminate, well, on the existing subwoofer...I guess it might be different when I get the new one.

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    Do you think it would be better or worse to use the ACOUSTA-STUF POLYFILL that they sell over the foam that u would stick to the inside of the box like you used?

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Errr, Meuge, the 12" wasn't but I'm hearing conflicting reports as to whether or not the 15" Titanic is ported if you buy the complete kit from Parts Express...Is there even room for a port?

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Meuge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Errr, Meuge, the 12" wasn't but I'm hearing conflicting reports as to whether or not the 15" Titanic is ported if you buy the complete kit from Parts Express...Is there even room for a port?
    The enclosure is sealed in the kit configuration.

    There is certainly room for a port, but the enclosure is a little small. You'll have some trouble tuning the enclosure low if you wanted to make it ported, which obviously defeats the purpose of porting it in the first place.

    With room gain and some low freq. P-EQ, this sub could probably be flat to 20Hz with a gentle rolloff after that. The two reasons to make a sub ported are output and extension. With 15" of 20mm Xmax and a 1000W amp, this sub has more output than I can see anyone using unless they live in a palace. Considering that its group delay is so good in a sealed configuration I can see no reason to make it ported. That being said, if you want to use the Titanic driver in a ported sub, you should probably build your own enclosure.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Meuge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekwwww
    Do you think it would be better or worse to use the ACOUSTA-STUF POLYFILL that they sell over the foam that u would stick to the inside of the box like you used?
    I don't know really. I'm going to try adding stuffing at some point in the future, but for now I see no major problems with the sub's frequency response.

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