March 01, 2013
| by Robert Archer
About a decade ago high-performance audio distributor Sumiko diversified its product line when it introduced REL subwoofers to the American market. Over the past several months REL has been busy updating its product line through the introduction of three new product lines each populated with multiple product choices.
One of those new product lines is the Series R and within that line is the flagship model R-528 which features a 12-inch driver that’s driven by a 500 watt RMS Class D amplifier. Taking the performance of the R-528 up to the next level REL recently introduced the R-528SE (Special Edition) subwoofer.
REL says the SE version is designed to provide home theater and stereo enthusiasts with a low-frequency reproduction solution that delivers deep bass from a smaller footprint product. The company says the R-528SE utilizes technologies developed for its benchmark Gibraltar G-1 Sub-Bass System and its been upgraded in numerous ways to achieve REL’s design goals.
Some of the ways the company improved upon the R-528 to designate it as a Special Edition product include upgrades to the subwoofer’s amplifier and driver section. In the SE version REL employs the 12-inch carbon fiber woofer used in its G-1 subwoofer, as well as a 12-inch carbon fiber passive radiator to augment the low-frequency extension of the product. Together the combination of the woofer and passive radiator are said to provide users the equivalent performance of a 16-inch driver in a larger subwoofer.
Like other REL products, the R-528SE’s rear panel features a choice of installer convenience options such as high-level Speakon, low level RCA and LFE .1 RCA inputs each with individual volume controls, and a manual crossover control that allows electronics professionals to dial in specific crossover settings in analog-based systems. REL also points out the speaker level and LFE input can be used simultaneously for shared use installations scenarios such as home theater and traditional two-channel systems that coexist in the same room.
Externally, the subwoofer features nine coats of hand-rubbed gloss piano-black lacquer with gloss white options for special orders, and top and side name badges, as well as support feet that are nickel plated. Sumiko says the REL R-528SE subwoofer will ship in early March at an expected MSRP of $2,800.
Related: Adding a second subwoofer is one of “5 Easy Home Theater Upgrades”
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Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.