Older vs. newer REL subs

Looking for any reports about older vs. newer REL subs.

I have a REL 328 (ca. 2013) which I bought used. It's a good sub.


I would like to upgrade to stereo subs and I've found (finally) another REL 328 which would match mine. But, before I drop coin on that, I'm wondering if anyone has had experience comparing their older REL with a newer one. What's changed? What's better, worse, or the same? I'm considering the T7x and T9x lines.

Hoping for apples to apples comparisons, vis a vis driver size, type of sub (e.g. level of product line, sealed vs. ported, music vs. HT etc.) but whatever old vs. newer comparison you have much appreciated. 

I had Strata III and replace with S3/SHO. Faster and more tuneful. There is the new T5x which may be as much as you need.
I have a REL 212/se in my main system. It was the easiest one to seamlessly integrate, and definitely the smoothest and most tuneful sub I've owned...for music (I've had pairs of SVS and HSU sealed subs in the past).  If the 212 is indicative of the entire line, REL is still a music targeted product, and not one I would recommend for home theater use, unless you're shopping their newer dedicated ht line.
No experience on mismatching of subs... but you will like two... two do more than just add bass, they will extended the soundstage.
@ghdprentice  My goal is to arrive at matched subs. It's a question of getting another (older) REL 328 or selling that and getting two newer REL models.

@noromance Thanks. Faster is better in my low ceilinged space.

@yakbob My purpose is music listening only. That's why I have the REL 328.
Ive had a Rel in my system since the company started.The strata,storm,studio,q series,T series and now the new S series.The new lines are far superior hands down,im running S510s.Id stay with the S line and above if your funds allow.
I feel like I should contribute SOMETHING since so many people helped me with this decision back in 2015 when I had to replace an older, quality Klipsch sub. I dug around a bit and discovered that Bob Carver now made subwoofers. Audiogonites HEAVILY recommended the REL T9 over the Sunfire SDS-12 but a T9 was three times the price. $650 was suddenly $1900 so I went with the Sunfire.

That was background. Where this may apply to you is literally EVERYONE told me, regardless of brand, if you want to add another subwoofer, make sure it's the same brand and model. Don't spring for a REL T9 for the right channel then realize you're short and buy a REL T5 for the left channel. Do the smart thing and just by 2 REL T5's.

That makes A LOT of sense to me and it did then 6 years ago to everyone else so I assume it's still true today.
@stereoisomer Thanks. I did a lot of homework on the matching sub question and this is why I still have one sub. Because it had to match. Now that I've found a match, it's the right time to ask, "newer or older" matching subs. It would cost money, but now is the time to decide.
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Keeping the model, year, version the same with dual subs is smart. Buying a pair together closer in serial number helps ensure there is less chance of variation.
Personally I would buy the matching sub. That being said, the newer ones do perform a bit better.
Speaking of older REL subs...

Can anyone provide any insight to the BK electronics subs? They were the OEM builders of the orignal REL models?(as I understand, clarify if necessary)

They seem reasonably priced for what  they are. Not as high tech as the current REL, but seemingly competent. Looks like they still use the same driver from 15 years ago.

I have both a G2 and a Stadium lll and each has attributes that are unique to each. The G2 is fast enough to keep up with the 6 servo controlled woofers in my Genesis G500 speakers but I had trouble blending it with other speakers. The Stadium lll on the other hand has extension that provides a different acoustic signature and its speed blends better with most speakers. Think of the G series as a Porsche and the ST series as a Cadillac. The Stadium lll provides solidity and air and the G2 adds speed and definition.

Hope that helps
tablejockey - The BK sub is pretty good and won't give you a hernia like the REL. The REL's are faster and clearer. Depends how much cash you want to drop and whether your back can handle it.
nmmusicman - Great analogy!
My rule of thumb is ten years makes for a significant improvement in sound from a line or company or a technology (high-end stuff).
I read through this thread because I have a somewhat similar question .  But as often happens on this site no one actually answered the question that was asked in the op. 
I have rel r328 and S5. The S5 is quite a bit better, as you’d expect being more expensive and newer.  Different systems. Ive never taken the time to A/B just my impression being owner of both 
@kren0006 I think the R328 was a more expensive model at the time and so it's at the same level, perhaps, as the S5, now? If so, that's at least a rough analogy.

I'm not in the market to buy two $2500 subs to replace a single older $2k sub; I would entertain two newer $1500 subs, however. 
"I'm considering the T7x and T9x lines."

"But as often happens on this site no one actually answered the question that was asked in the op."

Unless you can get that 8 year old technology for a killer deal(at least 1/2 original retail), a pair current Tx is the way to go. The current Tx series is probably closer to the S series now than your current sub, which is still a capable sub. It also has a nice modern look.

My R.E.L B3 is stone age compared to even the "value" T series of REL. 2  completely different companies. Your sub is from the Sumiko years, and since then to present is its own company with even nicer offerings.

Why not a pair of Salk Sound Rythmik 12’s in the same finish as your Salks...

The PEQ will come in handy now that you are taking measurements.  The cabinets look wicked rigid too.

As far as Rel, I’ve had a T9i, an S3 SHO, and a T5i.  The T9i is pretty sweet and I imagine the new version is even better.  I’d imagine that you’d be pretty stoked with a pair of T9x’s.  
I do like the idea of newer subs. A Salk sub would be nice but 75lbs each? Probably harder to resell, no?
Yes, probably slightly (maybe moderately?) harder to resell the Salk but who knows.  Hopefully you wouldn’t want to sell them!  
And yes, 75lbs sucks to move around so theres that too.  Also, how long would you have to wait? And then there's size.  Quite a bit bigger than the T9x too.

I don’t bro, your call.  I do think a pair of T9x’s would be pretty sweet though.
The good news is that my 3 REL subs from basically the same era, two Q150e 10" masterpieces (had one for years, just bought a second one) and one Q108MK2 8" all work beautifully and were bought used el cheapo. The bad news is that REL won’t service them. If one dies I would try to find somebody to fix it, but they’ve essentially paid for themselves relative to what new ones cost. In my home studio pile I have a 92lb beast Mackie HRS 120 (not a portable P.A. Mackie, this thing is far more adjustable) with a 12" woofer and 12" passive radiator and 400 or so A/B watts that goes down to 19hz...I found it at a used instrument shop for 200 bucks and I’m pretty sure they didn’t know how it worked...a lot of woof per dollar...I don’t think subs necessarily have to match as I’ve used the 150 and 108 together in my hifi rig for years and you simply have to have them dialed in properly.
“I'm not in the market to buy two $2500 subs to replace a single older $2k sub; I would entertain two newer $1500 subs, however.”

this makes you the perfect candidate for a pair of T9x subs. As a T/9i satisfied user, I can say these are excellent and a few refinements in the new x series. 
The current Rel T Series are aimed for home theatre systems whereas the S series are aimed at quality stereo systems and are priced accordingly. The S series are more expensive as you will see but the S series are spanking good the higher you go.

Sunfire are good but I gesture more simplistic (sorry Mr Carver). My personal choice are the MK Subwoofers despite having Rel’s and SVS. 
I still have the original MK Volkswoofer I and satellites sounding as good and when I bought them new.

if I had the $$ my choice of all would be the Kyron Audio Mercury sub. I’m just waiting for a special sale to come up! 🤗

AG 🇦🇺

@amg56 I don't see in REL's literature where it says the "T" series are "aimed" for home theater. They say it can do both. Do others with T series subs believe they bought a sub for home theater by mistake?

I know that Rel has an "HT" series. When I use their speaker matching tool, I input that "music" is the purpose and their recommendations come out with T models.

T series: "goals were...to deliver as much as possible of our latest Series S on a budget.
T/9x: "delivers the goods in both music and theatre applications...it opens the pathway for owners of high performance European floor and stand mounted monitors and smaller panel speakers to enjoy truly full range sound."

Would I get a better sub if I spent an additional $1k per sub? Sure. Would it be more "music-focused"? That's what I'm not seeing and, for my budget, it doesn't make sense.

@wolf_garcia   Thanks for your input. I know that eventually subs can shake themselves apart and that difficulty in getting service is a consideration for a used one.

@b_limo Salk. Can't. The wait for the speakers was worth it,  but even before Covid, people wait a long time for his stuff. For me, these are not worth the wait, and a trial period would be out of the question because the shipping is insand. TMR sells RELs and I can drive to go get them, try them out, and return them.  I think of subs as a kind of good utility. I don't need beautiful cabinets on the subs. Plus, they will be harder to match for someone else. I'm just not at the point of adding more eye candy to my room, which is really an audio lab and not a pretty space for guests. So, I think Salks are off the table. Plus, REL's customer service is really a full time part of their operation. This is not to slight Jim, of course, but they're just in the sole business of subs.

Given how often I have moved my subs, 75lbs is a deal breaker. And they're too big. But it was fun to read about them a bit.

I work for an REL dealer and we have been bombarded with propaganda from them explaining the new T/x model's design evolution. Nothing would lead me to conclude amg56 is correct about their being targeted at HT.  They make HT-centric models.  These are music focused as are all their subs (except the HTs, which aren’t bad for music btw), with light cones for speed, and their secret sauce crossover and speaker level input.  The amp is unchanged. The x has a slightly larger cabinet volume and optimized driver and passive radiator compared to the i version.  Not night and day...incrementally better.  Still a fine value and product.
@crustycoot  I don't think you mean to say "propaganda". That would imply the literature from REL is false and intentionally misleading. It's information about the products, perhaps with marketing-speak, but not propaganda. Does that make sense?
Hey Hilde45, i was in a very similar boat a few years ago. 

I was running a single REL328 sub...and after about a year or so decided to buy a matching 328..and luckily found one on the used market.   The additional sub was a real treat in many ways...and added flexibllity for in room setup, and allowed each sub to perform at even lower volume levels per sub, and with better in room performance.

The REL328 subs are great subs.

But...of course..i wanted better..and sold them off to fund a pair of REL S5 SHO subs. 

I agree some comments already listed here....as the newer subs  definitely "feel" faster and a bit tighter.

But overall, if I had to put a number to it...the REL328 stereo pair does 85% of what the newer S5 SHO subs do...in my experience.

Hope this helps.


@tj-sully It does! Thank you. I would not go for an S-series. More like the T series. 
Neither my original Q150e or the Q108MK2 have managed to "shake themselves apart" and are unlikely to do so since I check and tighten the screws once in a while...highly recommended. It’s more likely some cap will get funky or something, but these things are built to last...at least so far anyway. I can't imagine any newer sub being "faster" as that term is meaningless to me and seems more of a lazy audio catchphrase, especially with a sub.
@wolf_garcia  Thanks. I'll check my springs (and my neck bolt, while I'm at it).

Others here -- same experience? Subs don't have any issues due to vibration over time? Good to confirm, especially if I'm looking at a used sub.
There's a Q150e like the one I own (and the other one I just bought) on Ebay currently...I can enthusiastically recommend it. (no connection to seller, I simply noticed it)
@wolf_garcia wolf_garcia
"...The bad news is that REL won’t service them. If one dies I would try to find somebody to fix it,..."

Good point to bring up for others to see.  This is the problem with buying older -2 prior generation used subs, and when the factory no longer stocks the replacement boards, amps, parts, drivers any more. It becomes a best effort self-fix situation.   Helped many friends rip out stock amps and drivers to replace with generic Dayton 250/500 amps and other drivers to keep them going. Got two DA 500s sitting her right now in fact.    So what's left, a cabinet? Rather build a new Rythmik or Dayton kit sub with a good driver than buy a 5+ year old factory sub that you can't get parts for any more because they've moved on to different designs. Just something else to be aware of when buying used vs. new subs.  And they DO rattle themselves apart after 5 years, and less so when when used more sparingly.  They want you to buy the new model when it happens, fwiw.   
"I'm not in the market to buy two $2500 subs to replace a single older $2k sub; I would entertain two newer $1500 subs, however" .......you can buy the S510 for 2 grand brand new delivered...if you would buy (2)1500.00 subs and not entertain (2)2000 subs which are much much better your wasting everyone's time here with this post as thats just stooopid
@missioncoonery Where is the S510 available for $2k each?

As I price it out, I paid $1k for my present sub, used. I can probably get $600 or so for trade in with the folks nearby who trade and sell gear; if I get two $1500 T/9 subs with them, it totals $2300 rather than $5k. That saves $2700. Not chump change for people who work. If they’re all good subs and my system is not a $30k+ system, that sounds like a fit. More seems like overkill, though I know that’s the name of the game in this hobby for many.

But let’s take your $2k price as something really available (I assume that you’ve got a link for me on that). Let’s also assume that there is no trade in involved. So, essentially what you’re asserting is that someone who would prefer not to spend $1k or a third more is "stoopid" and that this discussion is "wasting everyone’s time here"?

I laid out my parameters and preferences in the OP and my posts, so I’ll leave it to others to decide if I’m wasting their time. Doesn’t seem like it, based on the helpful posts. Of course if you feel your time is being wasted, you’ve got options.

Again, my REL subs have been in fairly constant use and haven't rattled apart at all...I've taken them apart and would notice anything rattling. 
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The only issue I've had with my REL subs is the surround coming loose from the frame on my G2 but some heat/pressure reattached it with no issues. Of course, this driver really has some extreme excursions when played aggressively as I'm known to do from time to time!
I'm following this thread with a lot of interest. I have a T9i sub and have been contemplating whether to get another T9i (used) or save more to move up the line. The problem is that I bought the T9 in white to match the KEF LS50s which were also white. The KEFs are now gone, and the white sub doesn't go with the aesthetics of my room anymore. So the question now is whether I sell the white T9i and buy a pair of black T9is, or buy a single S/510 for now, and buy a second one next year.

I have read many posts about the S line being better, but don't quite understand how specifically. I called REL customer service and they feel that a pair of T9is are more than sufficient for my needs (not a bass head, no EDM or hard rock/metal for me). But I do wonder what will I be giving up by not getting into the S line? Hopefully, someone who has actually moved from T to S will chime in soon.

BTW, one thing I can tell you is that the T series is absolutely better than the older REL subs. I had the REL Storm III about 5-6 years ago, albeit not in the same room or even the same equipment/speakers. While it had adequate bass and pressurized the room nicely, I yearned for the bass to have more punch and texture. The T9i definitely delivers on this aspect. The bass is more focused and 'well put together' if you will. You definitely feel the improvement when listening to classic rock for example.

OP - sorry, didn't mean to hijack your thread. If this sounds like too far removed from the topic at hand, I can start a new thread :)
The best upgrade one can do for an older ST series REL is to replace the rail caps with Mundorf caps and double up the resistance wattage capacity on R7 resistor which is a known failure point on older REL's.
@arafiq Great questions! Thanks. And I'm glad to know the newer are beating out the older. I'm leaning heavily to the T/9 series. The other tempting thing for me is the value of a Rythmik sub, which people seem to love and it gives more control over integration, which could be important. Just love how those RELs look. Um, um.
A Goodwin's High End sales guy recently told me he thought the series RELs I own were excellent...but then, what does he know? I haven't compared them to new ones of course, but if they explode I just might.
My apologies to everyone, it is R8 that is the resistor that is the known failure point on older REL’s. 
Hilde45...its not for me to do your homework but ive bought 2 S510 for 2 grand  each delivered from 2 different Rel dealers within the past month, most will discount $250.00 before you even say hello.So with the free shipping they were actually less than 2 grand a pop...if your willing to spend 1500 on a T series sub why wouldn't you go the extra and get a S series (thats very close to their reference level as opposed to their entry line)?
The Ti or Tx series are mot aimed at home theater use.  They do well with that application but they are even better with music. They are the fastest, most responsive subs I’ve heard, by far. They start and stop on a dime.

The S3 SHO was a great sub and a slight upgrade from the T9i but really not worth it Hilde.  A pair of T9i’s or the T9x will already be overkill for you.  Room placement, room acoustics and setup will play a bigger role is good bass response than just randomly plopping down two S3’s or S5’s.

I sold my T9i to a friend and ghat single sub, in his room, has better bass response than any home system I’ve ever heard, RMAF included. Its all about the room, placement and setup once you get to a level like a T9i.  
Heres an analogy.  A trained driver in a 911 can do faster laps than a novice in F1 car.  
On a side note, I picked up my T9i basically brand new (open box) at magnolia for $750 and a S3 SHO (floor model, no box, no grill, no cables, for $1,000).  If I could score a couple of S3 SHO’s for under $3k for the pair I’d look at those as well.  
But anyway you go, T9i, T9X, S3 SHO... a pair will be more than enough and will probably impress the heck out of you.  You can’t go wrong with any of those...
The KEFs are now gone, and the white sub doesn't go with the aesthetics of my room anymore. So the question now is whether I sell the white T9i and buy a pair of black T9is, or buy a single S/510 for now, and buy a second one next year.

If you end of selling the white T9i....please let me know.
Thanks for the recent comments. It's good to know when one is moving towards overkill in their room. So that could be one reason one would not spend an extra $1,000 for the S series. If there was a good reason to do it and I wanted to spend that money then I would do it. (If anyone would like to pay for my dental work I'd be happy to upgrade even further!

 I can see that in this thread there is a difference of opinion as to whether or not the S series really makes enough of a difference in the room that I have.

Some people believe that buying something of even slightly better quality is always the thing to do. But opportunity costs are real and so it's easy to spend someone else's money. That said if I could get the S series for two grand each and I had a very good acoustical reason to do it, I would do it.
So the question now is whether I sell the white T9i and buy a pair of black T9is, or buy a single S/510 for now, and buy a second one next year.
Buy a pair of black T9s and keep the white one. #swarm
@nmmusicman My Strata failed due to R8 failure. Poor design and there should have been a class action!
Below it was said that the T series from REL was aimed at home theater.

Watch this video on the S 510 and notice how often he mentions "home theater."