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REL Gibraltar vs JL Audio


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Hi all,

 

I'm planning to add a subwoofer to my 2 channel system and have narrowed it down to a REL Gibraltar G2 or a JL Audio fathom F110/F112.

 

The advantage of the REL would be the high level or speaker level connection available. This means I'll be running my monitors (Devore Gibbon 3 XL) full range. The JL Audio subwoofers on the other hand are recommended to be used with an external crossover (extra cost). Also, since I have an integrated amp (Simaudio moon 250i) which does not have a subwoofer out, I'll have to buy a power amp (extra cost). The advantage with using the the external crossover is that the load on my amp would be reduced, theoretically improving the mid range and highs.

 

I would love to hear from someone who's used either REL or JL Audio suvwoofers. Which route would you recommend?

 

Thanks,

Arjun

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I like the second Rel I got. The first was a lemon, and quite a headache.

 

The Bowers and Wilkins PV1D has the same sort of features the rel has. I would buy that if I were to do it all over again. Better yet, two, to run in stereo.

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The Rel is good for music as it is fast with the design of the audio leads connected to the power amp.

 

My biggest gripe is the design flaw of the LED and remote. Not only is it gimmicky, looks ugly and adds to the price, more importantly, it makes a racket. The LEDs are actually audible through the speaker!! And it kicks back a ton of noise into your A/C power. So be careful if you have sensitive equipment on the same power line or a quiet listening room.

 

Home audition is highly recommended before purchasing.

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Hi all,

 

I'm planning to add a subwoofer to my 2 channel system and have narrowed it down to a REL Gibraltar G2 or a JL Audio fathom F110/F112.

 

The advantage of the REL would be the high level or speaker level connection available. This means I'll be running my monitors (Devore Gibbon 3 XL) full range. The JL Audio subwoofers on the other hand are recommended to be used with an external crossover (extra cost). Also, since I have an integrated amp (Simaudio moon 250i) which does not have a subwoofer out, I'll have to buy a power amp (extra cost). The advantage with using the the external crossover is that the load on my amp would be reduced, theoretically improving the mid range and highs.

 

I would love to hear from someone who's used either REL or JL Audio suvwoofers. Which route would you recommend?

 

Thanks,

Arjun

 

Hello Arjun,

 

Have no experience with REL. Therefore, I am offering a one-sided POV. I do employ 2 JL Audio F112 both in mono. And yes, I use an electronic cross-over, the Bryston. See my signature. They are cosmetically attractive, but more than that, they sound terrific. Compared to what? That's the point. I have no comparison save what I hear compared to what I enjoy. And the performance of the F112s are excellent. Absolutely trouble free since 2011. I have them on custom Sound Anchor stands designed for the F112s.

 

As my KEF Reference 107s are the perfect height for my ceiling height of 8'6", on the advice of Art Noxon of ASC, given the height of the F112 and a room mode that caused some boomy bass, I simply changed the frequency cards in the Bryston from 80Hz to 55Hz as the KEFs bass can handle the bass easily down to 55Hz after which the F112s enter. I never use the automatic setup offered with the F112s. Build is excellent. High Gloss piano black is highly attractive and match the KEF Reference 107s.

 

Whatever you decide,

Enjoy the music,

Richard

 

IMG_0208.jpg

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So my next stop should probably be a dealer who carries both REL and JL audio. I would be very happy if the REL G2 is the answer to my prayers as the other route (ext crossover with power amp and sub) can get pricey fast.

 

I'm probably going to do a single sub at this time as I'm mainly interested in optimum bass at one listening position. I can always add a second sub if needed.

 

I guess the quest for perfect audio is never ending :)

 

Thank you all for your replies. I did have a couple more questions, Do the dealers allow home audition of subs? Tranz, is the LED issue a common problem for all the REL products?

 

Thanks,

Arjun

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So my next stop should probably be a dealer who carries both REL and JL audio. I would be very happy if the REL G2 is the answer to my prayers as the other route (ext crossover with power amp and sub) can get pricey fast.

 

I'm probably going to do a single sub at this time as I'm mainly interested in optimum bass at one listening position. I can always add a second sub if needed.

 

I guess the quest for perfect audio is never ending :)

 

Thank you all for your replies. I did have a couple more questions, Do the dealers allow home audition of subs? Tranz, is the LED issue a common problem for all the REL products?

 

Thanks,

Arjun

 

Not to contradict your outcome and preferences, but (BUT) read Jim Smith's thoughts on more than one subwoofer. He's one of many references who favor more than one and the reasons are compelling. I can attest to this as someone who had one subwoofer for quite a while (Atlantic Technology 7.1 plus their sub). The difference is substantial. But that's just my own subjective opinion backed by several knowledgeable experts who I actually agree with.

 

Just offering you a counter example.

 

Best,

Richard

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Hi Richard,

 

You may well be right and if money was no issue, I would get the 2 subs, external crossover and a power amp. I just wanted to make sure I spent money where I can get the most returns. Anyways, in response to Erik: my system is as follows:

 

Analog Source: Rega RP6 + Linn Adikt cart + Lejonklou Kinki 3 phono

Digital Source: Macbook pro + Centrance DacMini CX

Integrated Amp: Simaudio 250i

Speakers: Devore Fidelity Gibbon 3XL (45 Hz - 40 KHz)

 

I have attached a crude drawing of my floor plan.

photo1.jpg

 

Thanks,

Arjun

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Hi Richard,

 

You may well be right and if money was no issue, I would get the 2 subs, external crossover and a power amp. I just wanted to make sure I spent money where I can get the most returns. Anyways, in response to Erik: my system is as follows:

 

Analog Source: Rega RP6 + Linn Adikt cart + Lejonklou Kinki 3 phono

Digital Source: Macbook pro + Centrance DacMini CX

Integrated Amp: Simaudio 250i

Speakers: Devore Fidelity Gibbon 3XL (45 Hz - 40 KHz)

 

I have attached a crude drawing of my floor plan.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]12582[/ATTACH]

 

Thanks,

Arjun

 

Hello Arjun,

 

I am not finding fault with you. Merely providing my best take and responsibility for what I post. Then you are free to make decisions which are doable and which reflect what is possible at the time. Buy one now, perhaps, a second later.

 

The main thing is to enjoy the music. There are many paths and system configurations to arrive at that outcome.

 

Best,

Richard

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Thanks Richard. I do appreciate your input. Would the fathom F110 work in that space?

 

Hello Arjun,

 

I am tempted to answer in the affirmative, but, rather than offer an uninformed opinion, I recommend calling JL Audio Support. I had reasons to contact JL Audio about the dealer I worked with. Their support was unparalleled. I would call them without a moment's hesitation and pose the question to them for a response. In this way, you can get reliable information from the source. I am sure they will advise you without succumbing to self-serving advice.

 

Let me know what they advise you based on your criteria which included room dimensions etc.

 

Good fortune, Arjun.

 

Best,

Richard

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I use to own 2 x REL Stadium II's with blocked ports. I upgraded to 2 x JLAudio F112's, the sound improvement was huge but not unexpected, design differences considered.

 

But in your case after reading a review of the Gibraltar G2 I couldn't say either way. Rel have at last gone to sealed cabinets which is the best way to go. I do have my JL's connected the same way as the REL's high level(some basic work required to do this, check this web site: JL Audio Fathom f112 Subwoofers | 10 Audio). I much prefer the REL high level connection approach and run my main speakers full range. To integrate subs to mains its critical the main speaker ports are blocked even with sponge foam or a rag tightly.

 

You will have to listen to them both in your room if possible. But even this is hard as it takes time to adjust to the sound and get it right in your room. After a year in my new lounge I can now say I've got the bass tuned to the best of my ability.

 

Definitely two subs are better than one but if money is a consideration buy one and add another later. Both companies don't make model upgrades suddenly and both are excellent to deal with.

 

Recognising that subs improve mid to high notes, spending time getting the level, crossover point and position right needs time, patience and listening to different albums.

 

The JL's are hard to beat I won't be changing mine any time soon. Check The Sound Doctor's web site here: Soundoctor - all about subs. Bearing in mind Barry comes with a Pro background where active is the order of the day crossover wise. Certainly try active but in my system I preferred the high level, running mains full range.

 

The F110's would be a minimum in my opinion.

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Thank you for your input Robocop. That was very helpful, I didn't know the JL audios could be hooked up at the speaker level. Did you have the connection circuit specially made? This definitely gives me more options to work with. I skimmed through links you provided, most of the Sound Doctor website went way over my head... maybe the second or third reading would improve my understanding :). I do plan to get a professional to help me integrate them into my system.

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No I'm capable of basic electronic work. I soldered the resistors to a spare rca plug and wires to connect it to my speaker terminals. Mind you this is not particularly robust if some one trips on the wire but in my system its all behind and out of the way. I can photograph this and post it to show you if you wish. Easy to make, hard wiring is better than a circuit board.

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Unfortunately, I don't have the know how to make that. I would still like to get a photo of the circuit so I can get it made. Would the directions and the circuit diagram in the link you provided be enough?

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Hi all,

 

I'm planning to add a subwoofer to my 2 channel system and have narrowed it down to a REL Gibraltar G2 or a JL Audio fathom F110/F112.

 

The advantage of the REL would be the high level or speaker level connection available. This means I'll be running my monitors (Devore Gibbon 3 XL) full range. The JL Audio subwoofers on the other hand are recommended to be used with an external crossover (extra cost). Also, since I have an integrated amp (Simaudio moon 250i) which does not have a subwoofer out, I'll have to buy a power amp (extra cost). The advantage with using the the external crossover is that the load on my amp would be reduced, theoretically improving the mid range and highs.

 

I would love to hear from someone who's used either REL or JL Audio suvwoofers. Which route would you recommend?

 

Thanks,

Arjun

 

The two are both top notch. I think active crossover and active sealed sub is the way to go. This can be done with software, Pure Music offers this function.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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Thanks for the info on the room and equipment . I think that the G2 is total overkill for your system.. It's way more woofer than you need and at $3500.00 it's out of proportion to the rest of your system. I'd recommend the R528 heck even the R328 would be good.. Take the more than a grand you'd save and use it to make other better upgrades, like a better Dac, or an upgrade to your amp, or good power line conditioning.. Just my $.02 btw I use an older Rel Strata lll with Proac D30R and the bass is great.. I'll most likely look at a sub upgrade at some point but I gotta tell you it's not like I'm lacking bass power or impact and it's far down the list of planed upgrades!

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Lots of good advice; my 2 cents:

 

1) Aim for two subs in the future. One sub will help greatly but will never integrate as well.

 

2) The acoustic properties of each sub matter a lot more than extension. I have two Velodyne DD12+ subs which are roughly equal to the top line of RELs and the JL112s, but I could have saved with getting smaller 10" units. Plus the smaller drivers are faster. I really like the high mass of the JL cabinets, mass does matter!

 

3) Make the alignment *perfect.* Get the phase to blend within a degree or two. Your ears work fine for this, use a mono or split mono recording of a tom tom. Begin by placing the sub's driver about 1/4'' closer* to your ears than the bass drivers of your mains. Use a measuring tape, get help from a friend or spouse, and hold still when measuring. if they are fed their own line-level signal.

 

3) You can use the high-level inputs but they add distortion (in the form of main speakers' back-emf) to the subs' signals.

 

4) Keep fiddling with the crossover points and levels of the subs for months in small increments like 1 Hz and 1 dB at a time, if such adjustments are available, you shall be rewarded.

 

5) Class D amps for subs are really nice. Hopefully you can get UcD amps in them.

 

6) I would look at the B&W subs too, their bass drivers are world-beaters.

 

* This is if you don't put a high-pass filter on the LF drivers of your main speakers. I don't, and I'm happy with the blending. I would shudder to run my precious mains signal though a sub's HP filter! If the filter is in all-digital form via high-quality software (HQPlayer, etc), I might consider it.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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Our local dealer sells REL and JL. If money is no object, the JL's will reproduce believable dynamics and pace. Listening to Blackhawk down, the rotor blades and the deep bass presented takes me back to my multiple tours as the DTS soundtrack is downright frightening. The 2 JL 113's took it or took it down to another level compared to REL G1 or the 528. Pipe organs, bass notes from a doublebass, Cello are all clearly heard and felt. One thing I liked about the JL's is that the sub extends the clarity and resolution of the midrange into the lowest frequencies. Also according to the sells tech, all JL Audio subwoofers come with a calibration microphone and have an automatic setup. Of course a F110, F112 or a F113 depends on the size of your listening room.

The Truth Is Out There

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Be careful with Class D as they are similar to switching power supplies and subsequent noise.

 

Check your power line with a noise sniffer or hold an AM radio close to one and you will hear the noise.

 

Many manufacturers have moved away from linear due to cost and size but not to the benefit of audio quality.

 

The Rel Gibraltars still use linear, but the R series use switching power supplies.

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

 

Panelhead: I know Puremusic has some EQ functions but I would still require an external cross over and as my integrated amp does not have Sub outs (it does have pre amp outs) I'll need to get a Power amp if going that route.

 

Erik: I can see your point. Given the current system performance and listerning space, I think a REL R328 or a JL audio F110 would be more appropriate. I know my system is by no means High end... but what component would you change from my current config to give the best sonic improvement? Also I dont have very expensive cables: they were hand me down Analysis plus interconnects and Analysis plus Theater two speaker cables. I ordered a Belkin gold USB cable ($6.50 or so on amazon) but honestly could'nt tell much difference between that and the stock USB cable that came with my DAC. Would you recommend any cable changes?

 

Sam Lord: I'll look into the BMW Subs too as my usual dealer carries them. The back EMF problem on using a High level connection is concerning. Is this bad enough to degrade sound quality?

 

I apologize for the fragmented response. I'm actually at work now and keep trying to sneak a peek at the CA site and reply when I can. I have to pay for all these upgrades after all...:)

 

Arjun

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

 

Panelhead: I know Puremusic has some EQ functions but I would still require an external cross over and as my integrated amp does not have Sub outs (it does have pre amp outs) I'll need to get a Power amp if going that route.

 

Erik: I can see your point. Given the current system performance and listerning space, I think a REL R328 or a JL audio F110 would be more appropriate. I know my system is by no means High end... but what component would you change from my current config to give the best sonic improvement? Also I dont have very expensive cables: they were hand me down Analysis plus interconnects and Analysis plus Theater two speaker cables. I ordered a Belkin gold USB cable ($6.50 or so on amazon) but honestly could'nt tell much difference between that and the stock USB cable that came with my DAC. Would you recommend any cable changes?

 

Sam Lord: I'll look into the BMW Subs too as my usual dealer carries them. The back EMF problem on using a High level connection is concerning. Is this bad enough to degrade sound quality?

 

I apologize for the fragmented response. I'm actually at work now and keep trying to sneak a peek at the CA site and reply when I can. I have to pay for all these upgrades after all...:)

 

Arjun

 

Hello Arjun,

 

You're welcome. For those of us who have direct experience with a particular fabricator such as JL Audio with both performance and support, it's easy to pass along that experience to another member who is seeking to improve his/her system synergy. Starting out with one subwoofer and in time adding a second will demonstrate as it did for me a vast performance improvement that is well worth the cost. Timing is everything. Such that when the budget allows for a second subwoofer, your appreciation will follow whichever fabricator you choose. My JL Audio F112s added immeasurably to my enjoyment of the music, which is my ultimate outcome overall. Let us know what you decide.

Best,

Richard

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