Andover Audio SpinSub review: Deep, vibration-free bass

Turntables, and the vinyl information we play on them, are extraordinarily delicate to vibration. A gently balanced tonearm with a tiny needle glides inside a high-quality spiral groove exactly reduce right into a vinyl platter to breed sound that have to be amplified twice: First by a phono preamp (to carry the sign to line degree) after which by an amplifier or self-powered audio system. Any vibration transferred to the turntable can degrade this course of and even trigger the tonearm to skip.

Till Andover Audio wowed vinyl lovers with its SpinBase stereo speaker system, one would have scoffed on the notion of placing a turntable instantly on prime of a speaker, to say nothing of finding a subwoofer wherever close to one. Placing a subwoofer in the identical stand as your turntable? That’s downright anathema.

Properly, Andover Audio is poised to upend the audio world once more: The all-new $299 SpinSub is a compact, vibration-free subwoofer that makes use of IsoGroove expertise to forestall vibration from transferring to the turntable, even when the subwoofer is put in in the identical piece of furnishings. How did Andover Audio conjure this seemingly darkish magic? Learn on to seek out out.

andover audio spinsub Andover Audio

The Andover Audio SpinSub subwoofer is particularly designed to amplify bass response from a turntable. It makes use of twin force-cancelling drivers to remove undesirable vibration.

Specs and Design

The Andover Audio SpinSub is a compact subwoofer whose measurement and footprint resemble an album cowl extruded right into a three-dimensional dice. The SpinSub is roughly 14.25 x 12.75 x 11.25 inches (WxHxD) and will match completely into many open-sided audio element racks or open-sided report album cabinets. And it after all works completely in Andover Audio’s personal SpinStand turntable stand. The SpinSub weighs in at a really respectable 21-pounds and its 19mm-thick, vented enclosure is comprised of inflexible MDF (medium-density fiberboard).

The SpinSub is available in your selection of black or white fabric-covered cupboard that provides the SpinSub a decorator-friendly dressing. Andover Audio despatched me the white mannequin, whose cloth cowl is a really mild grey. I discovered the aesthetic to be an ideal complement to any white or black-colored furnishings and accent items.

For such a small footprint (by subwoofer requirements at the very least), the SpinSub achieves a really respectable frequency response of 32Hz to180Hz -3dB. That’s greater than deep sufficient to breed a cello’s lowest notes and bass traces widespread to most music.

spin trio in boxes Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Andover Audio despatched an entire Spin System setup consisting of the SpinSub, 2nd-gen SpinBase, SpinStand, and SpinDeck turntable (not pictured).

The SpinSub is powered by a Class D amplifier able to 100W peaks. In my comparatively massive 24 x 34-foot listening house, the amp had no downside delivering the products at average to excessive quantity on cuts from The Eagles, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel, and Sade; in addition to soundtracks such because the Darkish Knight Rises, Biggest Showman, and Star Wars: The Drive Awakens.

The SpinSub sports activities a Three.5mm enter as a substitute of the normal RCA enter. The included 2-meter braided-nylon cable plugs instantly into the sub output of any 2nd-generation Andover Audio SpinBase.

I ought to word that this previous January, Andover Audio up to date their award-winning SpinBase to incorporate a Three.5mm subwoofer output port. Standing by early adopters, Andover Audio affords homeowners of the 1st-generation SpinBase—which doesn’t have such connectivity—a 50-percent-off trade-up program till September 1, 2021. You’ll be able to read the details here.

spinbase outputs Theo Nicolakis / IDG

The SpinSub connects to the subwoofer output port on the Andover Audio SpinBase.

That mentioned, the SpinSub is suitable with any speaker system, not simply Andover Audio’s personal SpinBase. The SpinSub consists of an RCA-to-Three.5mm adapter cable, so you need to use it with any volume-controllable amplifier with a subwoofer output or any powered speaker with the identical.

To easy integration, the SpinSub sports activities an adjustable lowpass filter from 50- to 180Hz, utilizing a 2nd-order crossover at 12dB per octave. Andover Audio tells me that when the frequency-selector knob is centered, the lowpass filter is definitely at 85Hz and optimized for the SpinBase—that’s a slight deviation from the 80Hz marked on the knob’s 12-o’clock place. This lowpass filter setting ought to work simply high-quality for many setups, however the optimum setting will rely in your setup and room placement. There is no such thing as a section adjustment on the SpinSub, which isn’t uncommon for less-than-$500 subs comparable to this.

The SpinSub’s energy is auto-sensing. When you energy on the unit, it can mechanically go into standby mode if after a couple of minutes it doesn’t detect an incoming audio sign. As soon as the SpinSub senses an audio sign, it can wake from standby. A inexperienced LED standing indicator on the again of the SpinSub lets you realize when the unit is powered on.

spinsub rear panel Andover Audio

The Andover Audio SpinSub options quantity management, variable section, and a Three.5mm enter on its rear panel.

All these specs apart, the true magic of the SpinSub’s efficiency lies in its twin 6.5-inch woofers located in a vented enclosure. The woofers are pulp cones with butyl-rubber surrounds, and so they characteristic four-layer voice coils wound on high-temperature Kapton formers (a former is the ring voice coil is wrapped round). Not like the extra typical subwoofer that has a single, front- or bottom-firing driver, the SpinSub sports activities two 6.5-inch drivers that fireplace from the left- and right-hand sides of the enclosure. The draw back to this design selection is that you simply can not place the SpinSub in a cupboard or stand that has facet panels.

Utilizing two drivers, nevertheless, provides the SpinSub a number of benefits. First, utilizing two smaller drivers allowed Andover Audio to design the SpinSub with a smaller enclosure whereas rising the sub’s efficient output space to match a sub with a a lot bigger, single driver. 

Secondly and maybe most significantly, utilizing two drivers permits one driver to cancel out the vibrations of the opposite, rendering the SpinSub’s cupboard essentially inert. The strategy is much like active-noise-cancelling headphones that monitor your atmosphere after which create an inverse soundwave to cancel the noise they detect. Certainly, I felt little to no vibration once I put my hand instantly on the SpinSub’s cupboard, regardless of how loud I performed the music or how low the bass bought. IsoGroove expertise works as marketed.

In case you’re questioning, Andover Audio isn’t the primary firm to undertake a multi-driver, force-cancelling subwoofer design. A few of high-end audio’s most adorned manufacturers—together with Paradigm and KEF—have developed comparable designs through the years. The Sonos Sub is one other instance.

assembling the spinstand Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Organising your complete Spin system—together with the SpinStand (pictured right here with meeting in progress)—took lower than an hour.

Easy to arrange

Organising the SpinSub is a bit of cake. All the things I wanted was included within the field. For this assessment, Andover Audio despatched me their full Spin System, comprised of the $299 SpinSub, 2nd-generation SpinBase ($299), SpinDeck turntable ($349), and SpinStand report stand ($199). That’s an entire vinyl playback system with furnishings for simply $1,146. I additionally examined the SpinSub setup with a second turntable—Fluance’s $499 RT85 Reference Turntable with an Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge—throughout my assessment interval:.

It took me lower than an hour to assemble the SpinStand and join the SpinBase, SpinSub, and SpinDeck—together with loading the second shelf with a couple of dozen albums. All Spin system parts complement one another aesthetically. The SpinBase match completely into the SpinStand’s backside shelf. Andover Audio doesn’t advocate that you simply set up the SpinBase on the center shelf.

If you wish to obtain optimum bass efficiency, permit me to make two observations: I can not overemphasize that the place you bodily place a subwoofer—not simply the SpinBase—will play the largest function in efficiency. On web page 9 of the consumer handbook, Andover Audio supplies perception into correct sub placement and addresses typical placement challenges. The underside line is don’t put the SpinSub in a completely enclosed cupboard (keep in mind its drivers hearth to the perimeters) and if the SpinSub’s efficiency sounds overly boomy or bloated, attempt transferring it round to different areas in your room. Fortunately, the SpinSub’s measurement and appears make it straightforward to suit into many various environments. You’ll merely want to offer an extended cable if wanted.

Secondly, for the smoothest bass efficiency all through your room, you would possibly need to add a second SpinSub to your setup. Sure, two subs are certainly higher than one. Due to the groundbreaking analysis in Sound Subject Administration by Harman’s Todd Welti, we all know that a number of subwoofers in a room can easy out bass response (you an geek out over the concept at this link. Whereas Andover Audio doesn’t point out the choice of a second SpinSub, all you’d must do is buy a Three.5mm Y adapter, join two SpinSubs, and ideally place the Spin Subs alongside the 1/four and three/four factors of your entrance wall and also you’d be in enterprise nearly each time. 

spinsub in spinstand 2 Andover Audio

The SpinSub suits like a glove into the underside shelf of Andover Audio’s SpinStand. The SpinSub’s heather cloth ought to mix completely with any decor.

Listening assessments

I arrange the SpinStand with all parts in the direction of the entrance of my room, the place I’ve my reference two-channel audio system comprised of Revel Ultima2 Salon audio system and SVS SB16 and SB13-Extremely subwoofers with an Anthem AVM60 and twin Benchmark AHB2 energy amps configured in twin mono. Save a slight room mode at 100Hz, my listening house doesn’t endure from some other important mode points.

I’m very accustomed to the SpinBase’s sound, as I’ve use the 1st-gen mannequin ceaselessly. Including the SpinSub to with the twond-gen SpinBase delivered a very completely different expertise. The SpinSub stuffed out the bottom-end sound that, regardless of how laborious it tried, the SpinBase alone simply couldn’t ship.

The observe “The Biggest Present,” from the Biggest Showman soundtrack, is such an outstanding observe for an audio exercise. Bass traces and dynamics had been profoundly completely different with the SpinSub within the combine. The tune begins out with a deep bass line simply three seconds in, after which goes full on on the 15-second and 1:12 marks. Bass was deeper, fuller, extra dynamic, and authoritative with the SpinSub in play, giving drums and bass traces way more gravitas and letting me expertise the tune nearer to its full influence.

Turning to any of Hans Zimmer’s works will lay naked your sub’s integration. Spinning up “Terraforming” from the Man of Metal Soundtrack, unequivocally confirmed the sonic variations the SpinSub dropped at the combination. The uncooked, unadulterated, mechanical grind of musical notes that paint a chaotic image of steel, rock, and earth being pummeled got here throughout with a lot extra influence. Then the hair on my arms actually stood on finish when synthesizers and violins got here in across the 7:50 mark, slowly triumphing, word by word.

andover audio spindeck spinbase spinstand spinsub black lifestyle 1 Andover Audio

Andover Audio’s turntable-focused audio ensemble can be accessible in black.

The identical was true of The Darkish Knight Rises soundtrack. The elevated audible and bodily bass sensation the SpinSub dropped at “Think about the Hearth” and “Rise” raised the emotional envelopment of these songs to a degree you merely can not expertise with out foundational bass.

Not as soon as did I get any sense that the SpinSub’s presence had any influence on my vinyl playback. I’ve to say I discovered it uncanny—even disorienting—to listen to and really feel substantive bass pressurize the room, and but regardless of what number of instances I put my hand on the SpinStand or the SpinBase’s cupboard, there have been no resonances in any respect. Let me say it once more: The SpinBase speaker and SpinSub had been positioned in the identical bodily stand because the turntable with none adversarial impact. Placing my fingers to the facet of the SpinSub, I felt the air transfer. I felt the bass. Shifting my fingers to the entrance of the cupboard? There was nothing. There we no vibrations. It was inert.

I didn’t want songs with overtly deep bass to note the SpinSub’s contribution. Spinning up the album Eagles Stay, the immortal traditional “Lodge California” sounded oh-so-right with the bass the SpinSub supplied for the tune’s traditional guitar riff.

There’s actually not a lot to nitpick concerning the SpinSub at its $299 value level. Sure, the SpinSub received’t play right down to 20Hz (no sub will at this value) and the SpinSub yields factors on refinement, element, and articulation (ditto). By far, nevertheless, my largest beef with the SpinSub is that it tends to render some distinct digital noise—it seems like a muffled water faucet operating in one other room. I may hear the noise from even 9 ft away as soon as a report had completed taking part in. The sound was extra pronounced if the SpinBase was on, however nonetheless reared its ugly head after the SpinBase was off.

I docked the SpinSub a half star for this anomaly. Andover Audio would possibly need to look into see if a firmware replace would possibly repair the issue. Aside from that, did the SpinSub ship vibration-free bass as marketed? You guess.

Conclusion

Should you’re a vinyl lover who thinks Andover Audio’s SpinBase turntable speaker was a winner, you’ll dig the $299 SpinSub simply as a lot. It’s an reasonably priced solidly performing subwoofer designed particularly for turntables, and it delivers excessive worth for the value tag. Add to the truth that this little man performs larger than its footprint; sports activities nice aesthetic enchantment; and doesn’t produce any cupboard vibrations or resonances to intrude along with your vinyl playback, and you’ve got a product that stands far above the group.

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