As you may infer from my Setup notes, the question isn’t, “What does the PC-13 Ultra sound like?” The question is, “What do you want it to sound like?”
Much as I loved the EQ and other tweaking capabilities in the SB-13 Ultra, the PC-13 Ultra’s three tuning options make it even more versatile. Want a fatter, more powerful sound? Choose all ports open. Want maximum punch? Choose sealed. The combination of the three sound character options with the advanced DSP capabilities and the PC-13 Ultra’s sheer muscle gives you the ability to get pretty much any subwoofer sound you could want. (Except sucky subwoofer sound — I couldn’t get the PC-13 Ultra to do that.)
I got my first taste of the PC-13 Ultra’s capabilities on the night I first hooked it up. I had no intention of evaluating the subwoofer; I merely wanted to watch the miniseries The Kennedys on Netflix. I was surprised, though, to hear ominous, ultra-deep bass tones entering the sound mix during the series’ most intense moments. With a soundbar or even most smaller subs, you’d barely hear these, but through the PC-13 Ultra, they shook my listening chair. It was like a dog whistle in reverse — it sounded like the sound mixers put those tones in there just for people with really good subwoofers to hear.
A more challenging test was The Grey, a movie with but one redeeming moment: an airplane crash shot from the perspective of the passengers, who know only that something’s wrong and they’re probably going to die. The sound effects are intense, with all the low-frequency power you’d imagine the passengers of a doomed plane might experience. By the time of the crash, the movie’s wretched script had already made it impossible for me to suspend my disbelief; I’d begun playing Angry Birds during the tedious flashback scenes. But with the PC-13 in the system, the plane crash grabbed every bit of my attention — and absolutely terrified me.
The PC-13 Ultra worked just as perfectly with music, delivering everything I’d want in a subwoofer. On Rammstein’s Live Aus Berlin DVD, it delivered the band’s awesome industrial groove with incred- ible impact, and with all the bass notes sounding unusually even thanks to the pair of parametric EQs. On the Saint-Säens Organ Symphony, from the Boston Audio Society’s Test CD-1, it played the deepest 16-Hz notes of the pipe organ effortlessly. I even cranked the system way up during the Organ Symphony just to see if I could get the sub to distort, but heard no distortion even at levels I couldn’t stand to listen to for more than a few seconds.
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