Rell or JL subwoofer?

I have 4 classe 25 amps biamping 4000 watts to a set of Bowers 802D3, I currently have 2 12 inch svs pro 1000 sealed subs, 500 watts each and a 15 inch klipsch like 800 watts, do to space I need to get rid of the 15 inch klipsch, so I’m upgrading my 12 inch svs , I use my system for 50% music and 50% movies and I do prefer smooth movie bass that the svs subs give out,  everyone says Rell is for music, and to get JL audio, but my dealer that sells Rell said Rell is definitely the way to go for movies and music that Jl is not . I have learned to trust him, very kewl guy, so his opinion got me confused cause everyone else said Rel is only for music and JL is actually hybrid for both music and movies. I’m looking at JL audio fathom 112 or fathom 113 vs Rel s812 or Rel carbon series, which do you guys recommend? I leave it up to you guys!!thanks so much 


All three manufacturers make fine subs.

I have owned two JL F112 (original version) for about 15 years. During that time, they each have had to go back to the factory twice for problems. To JL’s credit, they did the fourth repair at n/c after I complained. The subs also emit mechanical hum, necessitating use of an AVA HumBuster on each.

If you are thinking of new JLs, they are better in terms of adjustment (easier to use and more capable) than the old ones. I believe JL has upped the specs of the capacitors (the point of failure), so perhaps new ones don’t require as much maintenance. I don't know if the new ones hum.

I have owned two SVS SB-3000 for a couple of years. They also are excellent subs and have plenty of adjustments -- more than my JLs. I also like the ability to adjust from their app. I have found SVS customer service excellent. Unlike my JLs, the subs do not emit any hum; they are dead quiet. They also are far more cost-effective than the JLs.

REL has many fans. What has troubled me is the firm’s insistence that speaker-level connections are superior to like-level ones, which seems like marketing nonsense to me. Yet many people love them.

You might consider a couple of SB-3000 or SB-4000 to replace your current subs.

P.S. Mine is a music-only system. No video.

Does the Rel line level split the signal through an internal crossover then speaker line goes filtered to the speaker? If that’s the case I would not really want to take a high end speaker then send that signal through another crossover. I like speakers that can run fullish range or at least 40 hz and run them full range and set the sub crossover to that level. 

I have the JL Audio 110's, never had any problems. I now use it for 100% music, and they sound great. When I did surround sound, they sounded fine also. I really appreciate the DSP,  it really made setting it up and matching it to the main speakers easy. I get great low bass, but it all sounds as if it's coming from my main speakers. The only thing I'd like is to be able to adjust the volume from an app. But then I'd probably be playing with it all the time, so it's fine.

I've heard good things about SVS and Rel, I doubt you'd go wrong with any of them.

I’ve owned Martin Logan, HSU, SVS SB15 and SB16, JL Audio F110s with the CR1, JL Audio F112s, REL Carbons, and REL G1 mkII, I currently use REL No. 32s. Which one works best for you depends on your room, system, and your preferences.

My view is that the JL Audio subs are, in large part, superior because of the built in room correction.  Is that worth the huge prices? Not sure.

Was reading the responses, and  I don’t know how I it got pasee me that svs has the 3000 and 4000 series!!! Adding them to the equation, JL, Rel or svs?   I read that JL has the room correction thing,  I guess it will come down to which set I can get the best deal on, my cousin has a car audio shop and might have acces yo dealer pricing on some of these

You can get 2 SVS SB3000s for $2100 (or $2000 if you buy them from their outlet), and they include integration software and come with a 45-day, risk-free trial including shipping both ways along with great customer service.  Rel has no integration software if that matters, and I believe both Rel and JL will be considerably more expensive for comparable specs.  Best of luck. 

I have owned a few REL they are definitely good with music and more than satisfying when playing a movie in 2.1.

I run mine RCA because I am afraid to use the Speakon type connector with my tube amps.  Solid State fully differential amps can NOT be used speaker level with REL subs you will damage the amplifier.   That may prohibit you from using speaker level with your Classe as they are most likely truly balanced 

As @erik_squires said, JL has the auto EQ feature, and that is nice to have. It wasn’t worth the cost to me when I wanted to add 2 more subs.

And as @soix touched on, SVS subs have an app that lets you apply up to 3 PEQ points to each sub, along with other adjustments that can help integration, such as continuous phase control. To really take advantage of the SVS features, one needs a measurement system, such as REW with a UMIK-1 or the Dayton OmniMic2 system.

Unless your preamp or processor lets you adjust phase (or delay) of the sub relative to the main, a continuously variable phase control is a must on a sub. Since you are doing movies, too, you may be using a processor that can adjust phase, and maybe even automatically.

Does the Rel line level split the signal through an internal crossover then speaker line goes filtered to the speaker?

No. REL recommends running the main speakers full range.

Solid State fully differential amps can NOT be used speaker level with REL subs you will damage the amplifier.

REL has instructions for connecting speaker level to fully differential amps (this link for a single subwoofer. There are instructions elsewhere for a stereo pair).

Where or how have your SVS subs been located in the room?  What are your current SVS preset settings? 

By the time any REL reaches the manufactures low frequency claim it's down -6dB which makes it a simple, to quote Richard Edmond Lord, "sub-bass speaker." It's not a subwoofer. Aside from a 0/180 phase switch a detent crossover the only control is to lower the volume until the thing doesn't draw attention to itself when playing track 4 from the film score of 'Sneakers.'  

If your kewl dealer doesn't have a JL Audio Fathom subwoofer for a direct comparison you might want to rethink your trust for this.

JL Audio's Fathom series may be of higher build quality than your SVS but their D.A.R.O simply adjusts frequency peaks within the room automatically to a set JL Audio standard. There's no manual adjustment unless you opt for the $3K CR-1.

The SVS has far more remote controlled parameters to match the lower frequency of your main speakers, provide low frequency gain to your taste as well as three customizable presets of different settings.

You could run your HT and two channel into a Velodyne Plus. Compose preset EQ's for both and slave your SVS. The only restriction would not being able to run HT and two channel at the same time. Good luck with your search


avatar:  Gene Czerwinski

"Solid State fully differential amps can NOT be used speaker level with REL subs." I believe my Rowland 735 amplifiers are fully differential amps and I have used three different REL subs with my Rowland amps and they didn’t damage my 625 S2 or 735 mono-amps.

There is a caution in the manual for mono amps and Class D.    Differential amps must float ground.    Its been in their manuals for years.   

"Differential amps must float ground." That statement isn't true. I floated the ground when  I had a JR 625 S2 with REL subs. I talked directly to Mr. Rowland and he said, I could ground the sub to the chassis or send it to him and he would add a ground screw. My REL No. 32s are grounded to my JR 735 mono-amps chassis. I have zero problems. 

So I got this in a private message which should have been posted here:


"My view is that the JL Audio subs are, in large part, superior because of the built in room correction. Is that worth the huge prices? Not sure." Audio is subjective, but based on my experience I strongly disagree with your statement.


Well Ric, feel free to elaborate.

I sent a PM, because I don’t feel like engaging in the silliness that often happens on Audiogon. Again, based on my experience of owning both JL Audio and REL subwoofers, I don’t agree with your statement that, "JL subs are, in large part, superior because of the build in room correction." At lease I didn’t come to that conclusion and that’s why I currently own REL subwoofers. As with most things in this hobby, what subwoofer you prefer is based on the room, system, and individual preference.

@mike_in_nc Do you know if the integration software in the newer SB2000 Pro is more advanced than that in the SB3000?  If so was thinking it might also be good for the OP to consider as it still gets down to 19Hz (-3dB) and is $400 cheaper. 

As far as I know, the SVS software consists of the same app for the whole line. I think one of the low-end subs (SB-1000 non-Pro version) may not support it, though, as the plate amp needs the circuitry. I have not tried the SB-2000 Pro. SVS Customer Service would have the final word on all this.

I don't know about JL room correction, but I used to own a Martin Logan sub, got the mic and software - total waste of time.

Sold it and bought 2 REL T/9x's and never looked back - I run them from RCA sub-outs with 80Hz pass from the amp and use the LFE inputs from my AVR sub-outs.

Easy integration, sound great. I think SVS is a good choice as well.

For you, which is the greatest evil, more electronics in the signal path, or your fear of integration problems?  

If money is no object the $4-5k JL  subs have room correction-built in , the lower priced ones I have owned Svs easilly ether especially the 2 I mention below .

I personally like the SVS SB 4000 and SB Ultra 16 subs over most Rel subs 

which are not sealed ,Sealed BTW are more accurate the Rel  are vented  passive radiator  through the bottom 

and for the record SVS has a great app you can do all kinds of adjustments via phone or tablet ,45 day trial ,and they even pay shipping ,and 5 year transferrable warranty the others Donot .

I have SVS, Rel, HSU, and Klipsch subs in my 4 systems and the one that is the most versatile and easiest to integrate is the HSU. The HSU subs that I use in my main system are a pair of the VTF-3 MK5 which you can get for $1,959.00 for the pair. 

@vonhelmholtz  Excellent, and very tough, question to answer. 

@alucard19 Which SVS sub did you have?  The newer ones have integration software that gets excellent feedback from users. 

I don't think you can go wrong with REL; currently using an S/510 and planning to add a couple of Tx series (plus they're on sale this month!)

@soix I had the older SB3000 sub, which was replaced by my pair of HSU VTF-3 MK5 subs.

I was also looking at some new  RSL Speedwoofer 10S MKII for my new spare room setup.

Nobody mentioned MartinLogan X series. The go low, have full correction.

REL ain't what they once were. SpeakOns are a joke for sub connection. Don't believe a word of their malarky.

You need to mate sub performance to the mains.

A sub needs to have continuous phase control, polarity inversion, level and multi slope XO. If don't pass.

A long time ago, REL would be my first choice. Today, never except for the high end. Even then, they are more jewelry or furniture than speakers

I bought a Hsu ULS15 Mk II for music and am very pleased with it.  They told me that  if I played very low frequency organ music or would use it for movies, I should get a ported version such as the VTF3 Mk 5.  Hsu sells direct, so there is no middle man cost.

@soix  No my older SVS did not have the integration software.

@tcotruvo The ported VTF-3 MKV comes with 2 port plugs that can be inserted either one or both for Music or left open for cinema. These subs are very versatile.

I have a stereo pair of Rel 212's that I have been very happy with for a combination music/theatre setup that I ran with 802's.  I chose the 212's because I have a fairly large volume room and in my experience they are the best option overall for a combo setup.  Partly because of how I have them setup, I would say they are really good for 2 channel and good for movies.  If you are looking for a combo with smooth, tight bass I would seriously consider this model.  I recently changed to Focal Scala's and wound up adding a JL 113 V2 just for LFE.  In playing with the JL on setup I would say it is the standard for home theatre but I was not as happy with it in 2 channel vs the Rel's. 

Good luck...

I run a pair of REL T7/x for music.  Very pleased with them.

For HT, save yourself a bunch of money.  I'm surprised by an inexpensive Acoustech PL-200 II in my HT setup.

Rythmik and RSL Speedwoofers are some other lower-priced brands.  RSL are always sold out so that says something...

Wow, thanks for all the responses,  my cousin has a car audio shop and has conections with dealers to get stuff at cost,  basically it’s gonna cone down to what brand my cousins friend deals with, gonna be the Rel carbon series, the svs 4000 or the JL fathom f113

Just my 2cts. Have 2 very nice systems. In the lesser (both 2 channel music only) I'm using an SVS SB 3000, RCA hook ups and in the larger, better system an SVS SB 4000 balanced hook up (nice feature that the 3000 doesn't offer). Had them both for a couple of years. So far GREAT. The blue tooth sub adjustments from your listening position is to die for, once they've found their resting spots. Very Happy  Robert TN

The only Sub to buy is REL.  Their high level connection allows them to play like woofers.  They need to be set up correctly to achieve this.  I purchased 2 REL SHO subwoofers and they were a game changer.

"The only Sub to buy is REL." Some people don't prefer REL subwoofers and that's okay; therefore it isn't logical to suggest REL is the only subwoofer to purchase. I own REL subwoofers, but I don't like all of their models.

The rel is 1980s tech. There are far better ways to integrate a sub now.

JL sounds fine for music and HT but the electronics are trash. Their service is good and you will need it. I have two and both have been back twice. The only original parts in mine are the boxes…


never heard SVS.

I would add Perlisten to your research.

I've bought a few used RELs from the Q series and they're still great (2 Q150e models and a Q108MK2). The phase adjustment does not have to be continuously variable as the 180 degree switch works fine. No DSP digital nannies allowed in my room.

I have owned a pair of s510s and the fathom 113s. JL for HT and REL for music is an oversimplification people should dismiss. Their setup philosophy and feature sets are very different. REL assumes good in-room bass response from the main speakers. Their "advanced" setup asks the user to flank the main speakers with their subs and minimize the filter and volume. The placement adjustment pends a listener version of an impulse response. Their features are limited, but I agree the polarity switch is more essential than a phase knob.

JL Audio’s feature set is 100% about in room frequency response. Because of their electronics delay, I believe coincident impulse response between their subs and the mains is not happening without a digital crossover. I am not so sure about REL, either way. This is because of the poor frequency response in my room, it was worth trying. In theory is difficult to imagine solving for both frequency and time at just by room placement.

REL has other advantages like lighter weight and lower entry cost. I believe their website’s sub-speaker matching is terrible. There is no way a T9 pair would match my 4367s.

Based on my experience I think one will more likely get away with REL if the in room frequency response of the main speakers is already good. JL Audio works better for me. If bass frequency is off enough and bass decay is extended enough, a more power feature set may be warranted.


To clarify an above post. The CR1 has no EQ. I personally set up every parameter as best I can before running DARO.

I ended up buying JL fathom f112 , I don’t like them, gonna sell for $5000 and buy the svs sb 4000


what do you not like about the F112? Sound wise I think they are pretty solid.