The A7S-450 is a lot of subwoofer for the money. It performs well, blasting out a lot of deep bass, but not at the expense of musical nuance and subtlety. Contrary to its considerable size, it is also fully capable of disappearing, sonically, blending well in a properly calibrated and tuned system, handling quiet bottom end detail, and belting it out when called upon without giving its position away. That is unless you look at it; then the A7S-450 is hard to miss. If the room to board this beast is available and the wife won’t kill you for bringing it home, it is definitely a worthy subwoofer to consider at anywhere near its price point. Highly recommended!
Design and Construction
With an 18-inch driver and at 150 pounds it should be clear that the A7S-450 is a brute force solution to producing low end frequencies. There are bigger and heavier subs, but not many.
The review subwoofer came with a black finish and seems to be the only color option available. Elemental Designs, eD, their nomenclature for short, states in the literature that the cabinet finish is applied by a proprietary method, which produces a seamless, rugged skin on the cabinet. This finish is the definition of utilitarian: black, plasticy, and bumpy. To be completely honest, the finish looks like it would be most at home in a guys dorm room or a frat house, a point driven home by eD comments about the finish resisting beverage cans without coasters and children. While the A7S-450 will not win any awards for architectural interiors/décor, if the potential for damage to the finish is an issue in selecting a subwoofer, I am inclined to believe eD when they claim that the finish will hold up well under abuse.
The cabinet is custom manufactured by eD on order using CAD based designs and CAM manufactured by CNC machine. In fact, eD claims to do 100% of their own design work, cutting work, paint work, and materials work in house in Iowa. As for exterior cabinet features, the A7S-450 cabinet features radiused corners and all of the components built into the cabinet are mounted flush to that exterior. The front firing driver is recessed an inch into the two inch thick baffle, which also happens to be deep enough to accommodate the specified driver excursion limit, providing it some protection.
The driver diaphragm material is not specified in any eD literature that I found, but is likely coated polypropylene. The cone itself has a silvery appearance with a large inverted dome dust cap with the company name scripted across it. The only point that I found to question the quality of manufacture comes in with that logo which was not leveled across the cap. It is likely that logo was applied before the cap was secured to the rest of the cone. A minor point as I am sure very few manufacturers make sure that dust caps are put on at any particular orientation, but if the company name is scrawled across it, it does draw attention to itself.
The A7S-450 offers a choice of rear plate amplifiers that are custom manufactured for eD by a company called Keiga Electronics. The standard LT/550 produces 550 watts RMS into a four ohm impedance load while an $85 upgrade to the LT/1300 provides 1300 watts RMS into a four ohm impedance load. For the review, I was provided the more powerful LT/1300 amplifier configuration. Considering the small overall cost increase involved, spending the extra for the upgraded amplifier is definitely recommended.
Click here to read the entire review on Audioholics.com.
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