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  #1  
Old 01-24-2014, 01:54 PM
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Default Sundown Audio 15" v4 It's time.

Disclaimer: Before I start this review I will point out I do have team affiliation with Sundown Audio, however that will not hinder me from doing a complete and unbiased review on this driver.

Section One:
Packing and shipping.
I woke up this morning not knowing I would have a delivery today. I'm not sure if that is just because I ordered differently than most people do or if Sundown just doesn't send out tracking info. I will state that unlike last time I didn't deal directly with Jacob. I was dealing with a man named Brian, or at least that was the name on the email. It's not a big deal for me as I don't exactly need any more drivers and wasn't shorting myself financially to purchase this subwoofer. Some more contact would be nice as the only confirmation of purchase was my PayPal information, and an email from FedEx saying they were sending me something.
The packing of this driver was pretty nice and substantial for a 60lb+ driver.
The Cardboard box it was shipped in was oversized and plenty thick to survive the shipping company, There was one dented corner and a small scuff and that was it.
Inside this cardboard box were two Instapak pillows, one on top of driver and one on bottom. In the corners was plenty of paper to cushion a drop from the side along with some foam pads in the spots where the frame may meet the box if dropped.
All in all I was satisfied with the Shipping and Packing. I wasn't exactly worried to begin with. I've had issues with other large companies shipping and packing before. I never got the feeling that sundown cut corners to save cost like I have with these other companies. I was very happy to see the lack of Styrofoam, that garbage doesn't work and just turns to dust and makes a mess.

Section two: First Impressions
I'll start with the FedEx guy's impression, "I always hate seeing larger boxes with your name on them because I know they are going to be heavy, and yep I was right again."
He wasn't far off, shipping weight on my non official scale came in right around 70lbs. Not extremely heavy until you stop and think about what's in it. this isn't the first 60lb+ subwoofer I've had nor will it be the last, however I am impressed by how solid it feels. When handling a large driver without the "TI Basket" I always had the feeling like I was holding a baby and it's head might snap off at anytime. When I was running shocker sig 12's I broke the basket and dropped the motor into the box. I don't see that happening here.

Section Three: The Actual Driver
Like said previously, this thing is solid, and large. It's one thing to read dimensions online and picture the driver in your head. It is much more impressive in person though. You don't get the whole picture when thinking in numbers, you don't get the extreme dish of the cone/surround and the feel of the weight and distribution of the weight until you are handling it. The surround is a lot softer than I imagined you can tell it isn't the same off the shelf material that most use. It isn't nearly as porous as most are either. The surround is also more shiny than normal surrounds I've dealt with. The size and profile of the X and Z series are definitely one of a kind, everything about them screams xmax and intimidation. It's no secret that to newer, and even more seasoned, enthusiast that aesthetics are one of the main factors to grabbing attention to a driver even before it is heard. This driver doesn't disappoint in that regard. It also has a sense of balance, somehow, even though 90% of the weight is suspended 10" away from the front it doesn't make you feel like it's pulling away from you nearly as bad as other drivers I've handled. The new baskets on these drivers Is also more impressive than previous models. I'm not exactly sure it this basket is comprised of the same grade aluminum as others without hacking them up, and I'm not ready to do that yet. However the thickness of the spokes and flanges are much thicker than previous baskets I've messed with. I think the only other basket I've used that had the same feeling was of course the benchmark "TI basket". The dimensions of the basket also differ from normal baskets. The spokes reach up much higher than the 4spoke basket that has similar attributes. The spider landings are much wider than normal baskets as well. Under the basket is a cooling spacer made of abs, from what I can tell, this looks to be molded really well I don't see any sloppy edges. Now on to what most people look at first, the motor. It would be a lie to say that it's not impressive. It has the weight and dimensions to make people new to this hobby nearly catatonic while looking over it. To a more seasoned user you start to notice other things. I didn't remove the magnet boot because I really didn't want to fight to get it back on. I don't really have any issues with previous sundown drivers magnet grade and application though so I don't see this driver being any different. The machining on the top and bottom plates is well into where I would call "good" The only one spot I see where it could be better is right on the pole piece opening where it's not exactly as sharp as other drivers I've seen. I will admit those other drivers are all more expensive and hand built, I'm just nitpicking at this point to show every little aspect. I do like how the pole vent is not massive. A common misconception is that a larger pole piece is more airflow and in turn more cooling. In most cases that isn't true, it will allow the drivers cone to operate more freely but cooling is decreased. The smaller vent size will increase velocity and not allow a cushion of air to form and cause heat soak. The last thing about the composition of this driver are the glue joints, This is where my only "complaints" arise. Again this is just nitpicking and not really anything to be concerned about, however there was one area where the glue was allowed to run over the edge of the basket's spider landing and wasn't cleaned up. I would rather have more glue than not enough but I would also rather have had the excess cleaned up. I know about the surround glue issues that earlier z's and x's have had, you can also see where this was addressed prior to the shipment of this driver. As someone who has handled a lot of different drivers and seen a lot of different glue types it's easy to see the glue on the surround/basket joint is not 100% factory first run. I can tell the composition of the glue and have a very good guess on the brand but I will leave that out. I was just glad to see that even though I bought this before the surround clamps were introduced that The company had done something about it and didn't just leave it up to the user to fix.

Section four: Final impressions
I am decently impressed with this driver and sundown's practices. I left out all testing until later as I am still building my enclosure for this driver and will add that in later. There are very few places cosmetically and composition that could be improved slightly and the packaging was well above other companies. When emailed I was replied to right away and had all questions answered. I'm sure if I would have emailed about delivery I would have had that answered as well however I also don't think it should be something I would need to do. I am usually notified without any work on my part.
I'd rate this driver at 8 out of 10 physically, I'll update later on performance.

Section Five: Pictures





The Box

shipping weight.



inside the box.




basic driver pictures.

triple flat and glued down leads, I'd like to see someone burn these out.


compared to an average sized 12'' driver.


coils dcr reads correctly for the impedance I purchased.





























Just a small bonus, The sticker provided, like with all sundown equipment, has been improved since I first started buying their equipment. It's seems like a higher quality vinyl and is cut much cleaner. Even the paper it is on is higher quality.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2014, 02:18 PM
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nice write up but i wish there was a little free air testing done with it.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:23 PM
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really interested in your (in the box) review.my guess is you have high standards and look forward to your opinion on this driver.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:27 PM
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Nice, finally finished my box and I hope to have mine in by the end of the weekend
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 209native View Post
really interested in your (in the box) review.my guess is you have high standards and look forward to your opinion on this driver.
I'll be doing two boxes, I'm working on a recommended spec box right now. After I have listened to it for a while I'll know its performance enough to work on a "perfect" enclosure.
I did some free air testing but I decided to sell my power so it was basically just a function test.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:19 PM
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Tuned in...
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:41 PM
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Very detailed thus far korey, can't wait for the complete writeup as I know it will be a very open and honest opinion based entirely on performance. These subs are beastly and I'm sure you will be more than satisfied with the performance. Tuned in!
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:13 PM
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what i find interesting is a "sq" guy giving it a run i hope it meets your expectations
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:15 PM
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Nice write up. Paints a nice picture. Looking forward to the rest of the review.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:40 PM
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Thanks for the replys, I wouldn't say I'm 100% sq. I just like things done correctly. I see 99% of the daily spl based systems half done. I've had walls and plenty of 150db systems before. I am looking into some amps with more power right now. This sub isn't overly stiff but the 400 I've been using just won't cut it.
My overall goal, whether it's with this sub or not, is to play into the single digits and up beyond the realm of human hearing. All with a perfect sound stage and linear response. I'll be building along the iasca guide lines for a sq system with an overly exaggerated low end. If I'm honest I doubt I'll really like this sub in the recommended box. I've never liked the response of ported enclosures. I'm guessing I'll end up with another tapered transmission line tuned somewhere in the low 40hz region. The way I believe this sub to respond should still let it play well under 20hz. Biggest thing I'm
Worried about is unloading it to much and shooting the soft parts through the back door.
Should be interesting to see what happens.
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