Friday, August 19, 2016

Image Dynamics IDMAX10 Car Subwoofer Review

If you are looking for a car stereo subwoofer, there are lots to choose from.  Some are cheaper, some are expensive.  Some can handle a bit of power.  Some can handle a ton of power and play louder because of it.  And some have really good resolution and are very musical.  Usually resolution and power come at a price.  Those are reserved for the best of the best.  If the best of the best is what you're looking for, then the Image Dynamics IDMAX10 could be just what you are looking for.

Features and specs:
IMP Dual 4 Ohm Nominal Impedance
Re 3.15 Ohms DC Resistance
Fs 26.87 Hz Resonant Frequency
Qes0.52 Electrical "Q"
Qms2.91Mechanical "Q"
Qts0.44 Total "Q"
Vas 1.71 cuft(48.35 liters) Equivalent Volume
Xmax39 mmPeak Excursion
Sd394.00 cm2Piston Area
SPL 84.50 dBSensitivity w/m
BL 18.15 Tm Force Factor
Pwr1000RMS Power

The Image Dynamics IDMAX10 came extremely well boxed. The outer box was color printed, with photos of the driver card it’s specs. Opening the box revealed an inner box pulling out the subwoofer showed an excellently made subwoofer. Materials used was mostly metal, with some foam and polypropylene. Quality of materials used was excellent. The magnet was huge, and the black metal cast basket is huge as well. The foam surround and cone appeared well put together. The fit and finish was excellent. It’s their premium line of subs, and it shows.  Also inclue was the spec sheet, and some foam stickers to go around the bottom of the basket to help give a good seal...nice touch.
The Image Dynamics is a real juggernaut. That means you need an enclosure big enough to house it. The Image Dynamics IDMAX10 with it’s large magnet could be a tad difficult to fit in some enclosure designs. But it's  designed to put out a lot of sound. This is especially true when you think about it's power handling capabilities! And speaking of power handling, let’s see how it perform!

For the listening tests, I wanted something challenging from different genres.  And I decided to go more old school.  ZZ Top is a classic, so we used their song Gimme All Your Lovin, along with New Order Blue Monday, which is also a hard hitter.  And of course a subwoofer challenge wouldn't be complete without using a bass disk.  For that I also turned to old school Techmaster PB: Activate, and Time To Jam.  Last but not least I also wanted something for the more pure audiophiles, so that all bases are covered.  For that task we included Also Sprach Zarathustra.  It's most popular for the intro scene of 2001 A Space Oddessey.  The listening tests were done in both sealed and ported.  We went with a 1.50 cu ft sealed enclosure, and a 1.75 cu ft ported enclosure

Since the listening tests were done using both sealed and ported, there were the two different tests.  And each test was done in two parts.  The first part was for output with an SPL meter, and the 2nd part was done for sound quality.  With there being a wide range of cabin gains, depending on the vehicle you have, we did the listening evaluation in our test room.  And just keep in mind with these SPL numbers, that they will be even higher in your vehicle due to the cabin gain.  Now with all that said, lets get it on!

Test one will be using the sealed enclosure.  The first part of the test is the output.  ZZ Top: Gimme All Your Lovin, reached 101db.  New Order: Blue Monday, hit 111db.  Techmaster PB: Activate, and Time To Jam got all the way up to 118db.  And Also Sprach Zarathustra reached 102db.

Part B of the sealed enclosure test was about the listening and sound quality.  ZZ Top: Gimme All Your Lovin, the bass went pleasantly deep, had excellent dynamics and impact.  It played clean and hit hard.  New Order: Blue Monday, the beats were impressively well timed, with zero problems of keeping up with the fast beats.  The cone was extremely well controlled, and the impact hit like a sledgehammer!  Techmaster PB: Activate, and Time To Jam brought an instant smile to my face.  Talk about hitting hard!  The bass was nice and deep, with tons of output, and was clean doing so.  It also had tons of excursion that was well controlled and not muddy.  Also Sprach Zarathustra, the sustained low end rumble was really clean and smooth.  The impact of the mallet on the tympani had good audible impact on the pad.  

Now it's time for the ported enclosure test.  The first part of the test was for output.  ZZ Top: Gimme All Your Lovin, hit 104db.  New Order: Blue Monday, peaked at 114db.  Techmaster PB: Activate, and Time To Jam, reached 121db.  And Also Sprach Zarathustra went up to 106db.

And the last test for the Image Dynamics IDMAX10 is the sound quality test with the ported enclosure.  ZZ Top: Gimme All Your Lovin, hit nice and hard with the bass beats.  Not quite as tight as the sealed, but it did play louder with still really good impact and depth.  New Order: Blue Monday has impressively fast beats that had really good in your chest punch and good depth at the same time.  The motor structure did a great job containing the cone, playing the beats just as the music required with a really clean sound.  Techmaster PB: Activate, and Time To Jam, was very impressive.  The bass went very deep, and the excursion was extreme.  But it was also well controlled.  It hit hard, with great output.  It definitely got loud!  Also Sprach Zarathustra had an impressive low end rumble that was extremely well sustained and very deep.  It also provided a ton of resolution, being able to hear the impact of the mallet on the pad of the tympani very well.

The Image Dynamics IDMAX10 is one serious subwoofer.  The magnet is huge and can handle a ton of power.  The cast basket is extremely strong to be able to handle all of this power.  And the surround allows for a lot of excursion.  It's made to play loud, and with it's robust build quality, it will last a long time doing so.  Based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the Image Dynamics IDMAX10 has earned our Editor's Choice Award.  Kudos to Image Dynamics for a great job on an excellent performer.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at  Reference gear used in the review included Kenwood DNN990HD receiver, Audiocontrol DQSX Electronic EQ and Crossover, Vibe Audio Black Death Bass 1 Class GH subwoofer amp, Install Bay 100 Amp Power supply.