First impressions of an SA-8 - Realm of Excursion



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Old 08-08-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default First impressions of an SA-8

Posted this review on another forum and thought it may be useful to some of you on here that are thinking about a Sundown SA-8...this is more of a sound quality review than pure output, but you'll get the picture...

Okay, it's been a couple days since I installed it, you can look at my Build log Quick build of box for SA-8 in center console - SSA Car audio Forum ....Anyways, it's installed in about .6 cu. ft. center console enclosure firing down about 3 1/2" off the floor and a 3" Aeroport firing out toward the front, under the dash. It's tuned to around 36-37Hz...for power I have an old school Planet Audio (Zed made) P1002, running 2 ohms mono (about 450 watts). For mids and highs, I have an Autotek Model 33 running some 6 1/2" Viper Audio, some Vifa/Hollywood Sound 4" dome midranges, and some Polk MM1200 tweets. (Yeah I know, all old stuff, gotta get updated in my next build)

Let me preface these reviews saying I have the sub level turned a little lower level than I normally listen at, I set it more like what an IASCA/USAC judge would listen to. Honestly, I have it even higher than that, as usually the judges prefer it even lower but it's a little too "light" sounding in the sub-bass for me that way. Now, on to the review...

Jennifer Warnes - "Bird on a Wire" from the album Famous Blue Raincoat
Listening to this track brings me back to the old competition days...The SA-8 had just the right amount of depth and "overhang" on the beats. Every note sounded solid and deep, just as the recording was intended. Good start.. 4.5/5 rating from me

Jennifer Warnes again - "Ain't no Cure for Love"
Balanced, clean bass. Sounded smooth and a perfect mix of impact and punchiness. I like it. (By the way, great track if you want to test the stereo separation and imaging of your system, USAC judges used to use this to hear the placement of singers and musicians across the soundstage.) 4.5/5

Clair Marlo - "All for the Feeling" off the Sheffield/Coustic Test and Demonstration Disc
Again, a song USAC judges used to use. From the percussionists to the sound of the drumming by the late Jeff Porcaro, of Toto fame (yeah dating myself here) a good track to hear a lot of distinctive sounds in the bass. Tight when it needed to be, the SA-8 did a nice job here. 4/5

Metallica - "Enter Sandman"
Wow...the SA-8 sounded like thunder at the beginning of this track. Maybe not QUITE as clean as some setups I've heard on this, but still very good. The regular bass drum in the rest of the song was great though, tight, DEEP, and felt like you were sitting right next to Lars Ulrich's bass drum. NICE. 4/5

Maroon 5 - "Harder to Breathe"
DAMN! Shocked me the output and impact the SA-8 had on this song...Clean, powerful, and just rocked the van with great bass. One of my favorite songs I listened to. 5/5

Michael Buble - "Come Fly with Me"
Really impressive here. The stand up bass sounded great. The best word I can describe it here with is REALISTIC. I love listening to his music because it shows a balance of so many different instruments, plus his voice is outstanding. The SA-8 really shined on this one. 5/5

Now onto some fun...

Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra - "Back to the Future" theme song off Star Tracks II
This one was more for my pleasure. This song, (along with The Planet Krypton an the same disc) have SERIOUS lows...well below most people's hearing. Being that my enclosure is tuned at 36-37, I didn't expect much here. I was pleasantly surprised though, as long as I didn't try to overdrive the SA-8, it did a pretty nice job of making you feel the low bass without sounding like it was going to come ripping out of the box. Not bad. And the notes that weren't WAY below the tuning frequency of the box sounded great. No complaints from me. It is just an 8", so for that I cut it some slack. 4/5

Bass Patrol - "30's and Lows"
Just HAD to see what the little beast could do. The first few notes in this song are kind of low for this box, so it wasn't spectacular there, but when the higher bass notes kick in, WOW. Is that really an 8"? REALLY impressive output for such a small driver. I played a few more bass songs after this, and it does great as long as you don't go too far below the tuning frequency. 4.5/5


So overall, that means my score I gave the SA-8 in this review was a SOLID 35.5 out of a possible 40. I may have even been able to grade it a little higher with a lower tuning point, but just didn't have the space for a longer port. Still though, LOVE this sub, and already have a friend thinking about a bunch of these or the E8's in his next build, since he's always liked the snappy sound of small drivers. Actually have another friend I may get into a few 12" like the Z series...only problem with this review is it makes me see the limitations of my old school inside speakers, can't wait till I get a nicer car so I can upgrade all of that too!

Last thing I have to say, GREAT JOB JACOB! I'm a believer, I always ran stuff like JL, Orion, Oz Audio, MB Quart etc., and this little sub runs right with the big boys, if not surpassing many of them! Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First impressions of an SA-8

Great review. Very detailed. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First impressions of an SA-8

No problem...I know a lot of people ask about these subs, and thought I might help...
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Old 08-08-2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First impressions of an SA-8

great review indeeed! song choice especially

i've been tempted to do a single 8 in my girls car but i'm just scared there won't be enough output. this has me tempted to try it out though!
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Old 08-08-2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First impressions of an SA-8

Good review. I was thinking about getting some of these 8's myself
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Old 08-08-2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: First impressions of an SA-8

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Old 08-08-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: First impressions of an SA-8

Thanks everyone for the responses... I was worried about the output too but it is comparable to the one 12"sealed box I had in there, only it sounds better. Helps that it is in the center console I believe....
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