REL T-5 review: REL T-5 subwoofer

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
Pricing Unavailable
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good Speaker and LFE inputs run concurrently. Flexible operation. Musical and punchy. Compact.

The Bad Crossover control is poorly marked. Not as good with movies.

The Bottom Line The REL T-5 is an adorable little subwoofer that offers a musical performance for a budget price, and will play movies acceptably despite its compact size.

CNET Editors' Choice Aug '11

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Not very well known in Australia, but a legend in its native England, REL has been pumping out "sub-bass systems" for nigh on 20 years. The company takes a different approach to what other companies call "subwoofers" by supplementing stereo sound instead of just supplying low-end effects. If you have a pair of standmounts, or are looking to add a more "muscular" bass sound to your music, then REL wants to hear from you.

The REL T-5 is the company's newest "sub" aimed at entry-level systems. Despite the low-cost emphasis, there has been zero compromise on build quality: the T-5 is beautifully constructed. From the piano-black finish to the immaculate back panel, the REL oozes sophistication, and yet its sound engineering roots remain with its solid gold RCA terminals and thick heatsink.

Now for the tech specs: the REL T-5 features a closed design with a single 8-inch, down-firing driver. It's driven by a 125W amplifier and can go down as low as 32Hz at -6bB. The box is also compact, at roughly 300mm². A lot of power from a small box, then.

The REL's selling point is that it enables you to run a set of speaker cables in parallel with your main speakers in addition to the RCA ".1" input, and enables you to control them independently. The T-5 lets you alter the LFE effects channel level, the speaker input level and the crossover frequency. We only wish that the crossover was better labelled, as it simply starts at 30Hz and ends at 120Hz. It's difficult to hear any changes until you get to about 12 o'clock, and so a relative frequency at this point would have been useful.

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Where to Buy

REL T-5

Part Number: CNETREL T-5

Typical Price: $899.00

See manufacturer website for availability.