Presonus Temblor T8 Studio Subwoofer Review

Subwoofers are source of confusion and debate in audio world. Some say that subs do wonders to the sound, others consider them cheating, a blasphemy that should stay in home theater setups at best. I was thinking about adding subwoofer to my setup for a long time, and recently decided to order one, in bundle with Presonus Eris E4.5 for review. Enter Presonus Temblor T8.



Presonus Temblor T8 is the smallest studio subwoofers available from Presonus at the moment, the other choice is bigger, 10 inch Temblor T10 . Dimensions of T8 are really compact, only 32cm deep, 28cm high (plus 5cm feets) and 26cm wide, so it is easy to hide it under the desk, and weighs aroud 10 kilos, so it is also easy to move it around. Cabinet is made of MDF, finished in black vinyl, is well put together and very sturdy. I did a knock test and it feels almost like a solid piece of wood, so there should be very little sound coming from the cabinet itself. Temblor T8 uses 8 inch, down firing, glass-composite transducer that is moved by 100W class AB amplifier. On the front of cabinet we can see a big reflex port and a backlit Presonus logo. Logo looks quality and is backlit in blue or white depending on the mode subwoofer is in. If subwoofer is on, but there is no signal fed to it, than the logo is white. If the power is on and there is signal coming to the sub, than logo turns to blue.



On the back of T8 we can find amp plate with all the connections and controls, as well as power input and switch. Signal can be fed in to sub using balanced TRS inputs or unbalanced RCA inputs. Signal coming out from Temblor to speakers also can be connected via TRS or RCA outputs. Signal coming from sub to speakers, can be filtered using High Pass Filter, that filters out signal under 80Hz, so small speakers work only with signal that is easier for them, and subwoofer do the dirty work. We can also use polarity switch (0 or 180 degrees), input gain knob (-30 to +6dB) and Low Pass Filter knob, that sets the max frequency subwoofer works with. LPF can be set between 50Hz and 130Hz.


Set Up

For the tests I used mostly Presonus Eris E4.5 that needed more help in low frequencies than my JBLs. Subwoofer was placed under my desk and was often used it as a foot rest ;) Signal from my Matrix Mini-I DAC was sent to Temblor T8 via balanced cables, same cables were used to send signal from sub to Eris E4.5. High Pass Filter was engaged to filter the signal, but Eris E4.5 also has this filter built in, so if You want to use E4.5 with other subwoofer that don't have filter like this, You can still filter frequencies below 80 or 100Hz from Eris E4.5. After some trial and error, I settled with Low Pass Filter for subwoofer set at around 70Hz for the seamless transition. Gain was set at around 1/10 of max gain, and from there I used volume knob on Eris E4.5 to adjust the balance between speakers and sub.



Listening

So, what impact Temblor T8 had on sound of Eris E4.5?? In two words, suddle and transforming. When Temblor was dialed in properly, transition between E4.5 and T8 was seamless, subwoofer never called attention to itself. T8 and E4.5 together sounded as one and it was top notch sound, level above what E4.5 can do on it's own. It did not sounded as if You added a sub to Eris, it sounded more like Eris magically grown significantly and started playing like BIG speakers, powerful and effortless

The biggest change that happened to sound was, that bass performance went from pretty good to excellent and realistic. Bass guitar started to sound whole, rounded and powerful, kick drums gained that physical punch and realism. Separation between bass guitars and kick drums also improved significantly, making it a breeze to follow either. Temblor never felt slow or boomy, keeping pace with Eris E4.5 easily. What also improved vastly was realism of soundstage and the room ambiance, thanks to low end information that was non existing when Eris was playing solo.



Of course movie watching experience also reached new level of enjoyment with subwoofer added. It is important to point out that Temblor T8 is designed for music reproduction foremost, and is excellent at that, but occasional movie watching is also very enjoyable. Temblor in my space reached down to aroud 35hz audibly and below that rolled off very fast, so it was not like IMAX experience, where You have real 20Hz extension at insane levels, but it was much more enjoyable than Eris alone for sure, with movie effects and explosions shaking the room quite a bit.

Temblor has around 100W of real music power and is rated to about 100dB, so there is easily enough headroom, to keep up with Eris E4.5. Also my JBL LSR305 was very happy working with T8 in nearfield, benefiting with in bass authority and improved soundstage realism. For nearfield use and small spaces, this subwoofer has all the bass You need.



Comparison

Not so long ago, I reviewed M-Audio AV32.1, that also consisted a 6.5inch subwoofer, but the price for them in total was less then price of Temblor T8 itself. This price difference was obvious from the moement I stated playing around with T8. Unlike subwoofer in AV32.1, T8, when properly dialed in, never called attention to itself, never boomed and never interfered with what satellite speakers played. T8 also is also more powerfull, has much better detail to low fequencies and has great set of controls to blend it perfectly with most of desktop speakers. One word to describe AV32.1 sub, when compared to T8, was "mess", where T8 was "quality"



Summary

Temblor T8 transformed music and movie performance of Eris E4.5. T8 adds a lot of enjoyment, especially to music listening, and made me go through my music library back and forth with big smile on my face. Added punch, groove and improved feeling of being there, in the recording room or concert venue, was impressive. Subwoofer like this, when properly implemented, can be very beneficial to audio experience. Is it good enough to justify the price?? In my opinion Yes. Recomended


Verdict: 8.5/10

Pros:
-excellent sound quality
-solid built quality
-compact size
-powerfull enough, perfects for small rooms
-complete set of controls 


Cons:
-may not be enough to work in midfield in big spaces



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