Thursday, July 4, 2013

Massive Audio Hippo 84 Dual 4ohm Subwoofer Review by Jeff Roy

When it comes to subwoofers, bigger is usually better, or it has been in the past.  Technology is getting better, and has allowed more performance in smaller packages.  Smaller subs also means less space requirements for it, as well as a smaller enclosure.  The Massive Audio Hippo 84 - Dual 4 Ohm, is one of those products.  They are a small 8” subwoofer for a small footprint.  Yet they are still a traditional Massive Audio Product, in its massive performance.

Features and specs:

-Weight:              18 lbs
-Size:                    8"
-Peak Watts:       1000

-RMS Watts:       500

-Cone:                  Non-Pressed Paper
-Dustcap:             Reinforced Fiberglass Woven Dustcap For High Power Applications
-Voice Coil:         2.5" Dual 4 Ohm Black Anodized Voice Coil Former With Kevlar Spunlace
-Surround:           Tall and Narrow Foam
-Pole-Plate:         Black Anodized One Piece Pole-Plate For Added Motor Force
-Magnet:             145 oz High Energy Double Stacked Strontium
-Gasket:               Custom Tooled Rubber Gasket and Magnet Boot
-Terminals:          Heavy Duty Direct input Wires Connection
-Basket:               Rugged Industrial Textured Cast Aluminum
-Tinsel Leads:     Heavy Duty Triple
-Spiders:              Over Sized Mirror Image Dual Poly / Nomex
-X-Max:                13mm peak to peak
-SPL:                     88.27dB
-Ported Box:       14"H x 14"D x 10" W (Round Port 3" x 8")
-Sealed Box:       0.76 ft3
-MSRP:                 $249

The Massive Audio Hippo 84 - Dual 4 ohm, is part of their top of the line Hippo series and it shows. They arrived in a traditional Massive designed printed box with specs and features. Opening the box showed a piece of custom molded Styrofoam that the subwoofer sat in and was well protected. Pulling out the subwoofer revealed a well made product.  Materials used in the construction was very good, as well as the build quality and fit and finish.  Included was the warranty card, massive sicker, spec sheet, and cut out sheet.
The Massive Audio Hippo 84 is not a traditional 8” subwoofer. It is massive! While other 8” subs will usually handle 100, 150 or maybe 250 watts RMS, the Massive Audio Hippo 84 will handle 500 watts RMS! And the build of it shows from top to bottom. The huge double stacked magnets sit on cast aluminum brackets. The cone is Kevlar fiber reinforced non-pressed paper cone, and is attached to the huge surround with industrial strength stitching for added strength. The spiders, with the leads stitching were all high quality in quality of components as well as fit and finish.  Instead of push terminals, there are direct input wires connections.  It is a well built sub made to handle all the output it is designed to dish out. And the design of its look in the end product is awesome. It is only an 8" sub, but it still looks and feels like a tank!
Looking at the spec sheet, I am excited!  At 500 watts RMS power handling, it will play loud.  According to the specs it will also play deep.  And it will do so in a small enclosure due to its smaller 8” driver size. It can also be used in either a sealed or ported enclosure. Included in the specs are box sizes for both small and recommended. So depending on your space limitations, you know what your options are.
Massive Audio can also help with custom box design.  To fully test out their performance in different enclosures, we built an enclosure for two subs.  Each sub sits in its own separate airspace.  Only we went with one side as a compact sealed, and the other side as an optimum sized ported enclosure.  But we went with a slot design.  As these subs tend to be used when there is a lack of space, testing performance in a compact sealed design seemed only natural.  Yet many also need more output.  So also testing the optimum sized ported enclosure also made sense.  Not only do we like high output, we also look for sound quality.  So whether you opt for a sealed or ported design, stay tuned.
Dead or Alive: You Spin Me Right Round, had a nice quick beat that really hit you.  The ultra quick beats were only a smidge muddy.  No Doubt: Hella Good had very good extension and played with A LOT of authority.  It was absolutely chest pounding!  The same can be said of Justin Timberlake's Futuresex: Sexy Back.  The Massive Audio Hippo 84 8" subs played clean, loud, AND deep.  I kept  doing a double take to look at the subs, because they were only 8's (but shhh.....don't tell them that!).  They actually sounded like 12's!!  The surrounds are beefy and allow for a lot of excursion, which is necessary for them to move so much air.  To test their limits I turned to my old school Techmaster PB: Time To Jam.  While this seemed to push them close to their limit, they were still up to the task.  I like my bass loud, and they accommodated. They played deep, loud, and clean, with good resolution even.  I went with the optimum sized ported sub for one of them, and ended with a box tuned to 33hz at -3db.  Techmaster PB plays not only loud, but deep, and the sub nailed it.  The sub in the small sealed enclosure played clean with the tighter bass you get from a sealed enclosure.  All in all, they performed as well as I was hoping, and did so in a small enclosure.  And having one sealed and one ported sounded really good.  I will also say they seemed to like power.  They can handle 500 watts RMS, and would recommend it.  Especially if you plan on pushing them hard.
When it comes to car audio subwoofers, there are a lot of options.  There are a lot of manufactures that are fighting for a piece of the market and your hard earned cash.  Years ago we were able to review their award winning TW12's, and they performed amazingly.  We naturally had high expectations.  We are therefore very pleased to see the tradition is continuing.  Not everyone is in the know with car audio, so many individuals turn to brands they know and trust that turn out great products year in year out.  Massive Audio is a company that fits that mold.  That is a fact that many car audio fanatics....ones that are in the know....already know.  For those that already own Massive Audio subs, welcome to the club.  For the rest of you, once you hear will want to join.  With their MSRP of $249, they bring a lot to the table and are worth every penny!  Hats off to Massive Audio for continuing in their tradition.
The Massive Audio Hippo 84 - 4 ohm DVC subwoofer turned out to be quite the contender.  They are well designed, and are built to handle all that the most demanding of us can ask from it.  And they delivered in spades.  Not only did they perform better than a small 8 inch sub should, they did so with nice sound quality as well.  Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the Massive Audio Hippo 84 - 4 ohm DVC subwoofer has earned our Highly Recommended Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at  
Reference gear used: Kenwood Excelon DNN990HD Connected Navigation Entertainment Receiver, JL XD 600/6 Six Channel Class D Amplifier, Vibe Audio Stereo 4 Four Channel Class GH Amplifier, AudioControl  DQXS Electronic 6 Channel Active Crossover and Equalizer, Kicker Front Row Digital Signal Processor, German Maestro MS654010 3-Way Active Speaker System, Alpine SPX13-Pro Type-X 2-Way Speaker System.

Read more!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4

Every once in a while a phone will come out and we get the opportunity to spend quality time with it. We recently had the Galaxy S4 in our hands. Today we're going to talk about all the features it brings to the table and our experience with the phone.

The Galaxy S4 has a long list of specifications which we've included below. To highlight a few, the display is a full 1920x1080 resolution on a 5 inch display. That means the pixels are extremely small on this phone which gives it a very crisp look. We're reviewing the Sprint version of the Galaxy S4 so the processor inside is the 1.9 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 600. The processor and 2 GB of RAM are the perfect setup for a buttery smooth experience.

5inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi

1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor / 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor
The seletion of AP will be differed by markets

Android 4.2.2 (Jelly bean)

File Storage
16 / 32 / 64GB memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)


Main(Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
Sub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS

Camera Features
Dual Shot , Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, 360 Photo, Animated Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports

Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)

Accelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, 
Temperature & Humidity, Gesture

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80)
NFC, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)
IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0


Build Quality
The Galaxy S4 is a beautiful looking phone. It's super thin and the brushed steel look on the band around the phone gives is a sleek look. The phone casing is made of plastic which several people could be turned off by. In my experience with all the phones I've had the pleasure to use, this is easily solved through any number of cheap or expensive cell phone cases. The trade off is added bulk. If the phone was made from more durable materials, a case is still arguably a good thing to have.

The micro USB slot is located on the bottom of the phone with the mic slightly off to one side. This is one annoyance I've had with most phones. If the phone is plugged in I can't easily rest it on anything without worrying about ruining the USB cable from kinking the cable too much.

The button configuration is identical to the Galaxy S3. There are two touch sensitive buttons to the left (menu) and right (back) of the physical button which is horizontally centered at the bottom of the phone. We've seen phones with soft keys, physical buttons, touch sensitive buttons or a mix. You might have a preference, but we think with a short amount of time anyone can adjust to the GS4 button layout.

On the left side of the phone you'll find the standard volume rocker and the power button is on the right hand side of the phone.

The phone comes with a set of earbuds, a nicely shielded USB cable and a power adapter. The earbuds have an inline mic and control which make them perfect for listening to music and answering the phone all in one. The power adapter is a solid 2.0A out.

The screen is made from Corning's own Gorilla Glass 3. It's nice to see a quality scratch resistant material being used on a premium phone like this. Of course the screen can still get scratched, but if you're careful you might be able to get away without a screen protector. We would not recommend this; however, I know plenty of people that refuse to use screen protectors. If you are one of those people, the Galaxy S4 comes with the toughest most scratch resistant screen you will find on a smartphone.

Hardware Features
I love innovation. In terms of hardware the Galaxy S4 has several sensors that enable smarter software which we'll get to later on. One of my favorite additions to phones is the IR light. I've been waiting for years to see this happen. I almost built my own device using an arduino, a USB shield and and accessory development kit. That would have been bulky and unpleasant to look at. The Galaxy S4 includes an IR LED at the top of the phone opening up a world of remote control possibilities and not just limited to home entertainment products. I downloaded an app and in minutes I was snapping photos with my DSLR Nikon without having to touch the camera. Anything that uses an IR remote could be controlled from your phone.

There are additional sensors on the front of the phone which can be used for proximity, gestures and even temperature and humidity. I'm sure the Nest home thermostat could hook in to this data to provide even better temperature control when the phone is connected to the same WiFi. The fact that these additional sensors are being added to the phone opens up possibilities to developers.

Wireless technology is definitely progressing. The Galaxy S4 supports the newer 802.11 ac WiFi standard. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) which will be nice for those of us that sometimes forget turn Bluetooth off.

The rear camera is a 13 MP camera and the front camera is a 2 MP camera. We were pleased to see support for HDR photos via their Rich Tone feature.

Software Features

Call Quality



Read more!