Sunday, April 23, 2023

Image Dynamics ID8 Ultra Low Frequency Subwoofer Review By Jeff Roy

I grew up a car audio fan. I never really grew out of it. Instead of ridiculous amounts of bass, I now appreciate sound quality much more. But there are companies out there that can provide both. Image Dynamics is one of those companies. Up for review today is their ID8. MSRP is $119.


Features and specs:

Multi Enclosure Design to maximize your listening preferences without giving up any sound quality whether you want a sealed, ported or bandpass enclosure.

Parabolic Santoprene Surround to ensure cone linearity and control.

Poly/Mica Cone for strong and distortion free bass reproduction while still reproducing all the musical nuances.

Hybrid Progressive Spiders that gives control of the piston at high volumes and still maintains the sonic details at lower volumes.

BASV Voice Coil Former to pull and dissipate harmful heat from the voice coil for better power handling.

Power Handling: Recommended 150RMS Max 250RMS

Recommended Enclosures:  Sealed f3 0.25-0.45   Ported f3 0.5-1.0

Frequency Response 16-180hz


The Image Dynamics ID8 came in a great looking color printed box, with images and specs of the subwoofer. Opening the box reveals a well-protected woofer held in place by custom molded cardboard. Pulling out the woofer, it was a well-made product that appears nicer then it’s price point. Materials used in the construction was mostly metal with some plastic. Quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish, was very good. Also included was the foam seals, sticker and manual.


I love the box the subwoofer comes in. It’s unique. Not all amps are clean amps, that provide clean power. When you push them, they start to distort. And it’s commonly known that if you feed a sub clean power, a quality sub can handle more power than it’s rated. That’s exactly what Image Dynamics provides with its box. It’s a power line that shows what the subwoofer can handle. It has a speed limit sign that shows 150 watts, which is what they are rated RMS. And obviously more power than that is at your own risk. The power line shows power level marks, and starts with the minimum that the subwoofer needs. It starts at blue, then gradually turns to green, to yellow, then orange, red, brown and black. Beyond the RMS limit sign, it has a caution, until at one point there is a skull and cross bones. It’s a really cool gauge for how much power to feed the subwoofer.


I’m very impressed with the design of the subwoofer as well. For an 8-inch subwoofer it has a frequency response down to 16 hertz! And the design seems to support it. The rubber surround is sufficiently tall, to allow a lot of excursion. The cone is polypropylene to provide a stiff cone for clean output. While the basket is just a stamped basket, it was well made, is a more economical solution, and can easily handle the rated power. The spider features sewn in tinsel leads, again of good quality. And while the magnet is sufficiently beefy to handle a good amount of power, vented at the back, what impressed me was the bumped pole piece.


The bumped pole piece is a big sign of what the sub is capable of. As the cone moves, the voice coil could potentially bottom out. The voice coil moves through the motor structure, but if there is too much excursion, the voice coil could hit the bottom of the magnet. A bumped pole piece extends that part of the magnet, so the voice coil has more room to move deeper into the magnet, so it doesn’t bottom out. Playing really deep down to 16hz, requires moving a lot of air. This requires a lot of excursion. Handling a lot of power, also results in a lot of excursion. So the design allows for extreme depth, and high output, hence why I love the design.

Back in the day, if you wanted gargantuan amounts of bass, and not just bass but really deep bass, you had to go big. It was all about 12’s, or better, 15’s. They required lots of power, but also huge enclosures. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a use for 12’s and 15’s anymore, but technology has significantly improved.


This improved technology is evidenced in the design of the Image Dynamics 1D8. Not only can it provide a large amount of bass, it can provide extremely deep bass under 20hz. Add to that fact that it is only an 8-inch subwoofer, it needs significantly less airspace then a 12-inch or 15-inch subwoofer. The image dynamic ID8 only requires at least .2 cubic feet sealed or .5 cubic feet ported. This significantly increases the locations that you can now put a subwoofer in a vehicle.


My vehicle is actually a perfect example of what is capable with 8’s. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a bass-head. I like a lot of bass. But my 2017 Nissan Titan King Cab does not provide a lot of options. I can use a pair of 10’s, but it would need to be up or down facing, which means it would need to be a fairly shallow sub. Shallow mount subs typically don’t handle a lot of power. And I’d be limited to 2 sealed 10’s, or 1 ported 10, based on air space requirements. However, thanks to the design of the Image Dynamics ID8, I can fit four 8’s under the seat. And thanks to the smaller enclosure size requirements, I can actually go ported! And thank to its design being able to go so deep, I won’t miss any depth going down to 8’s.


So just to recap. Thanks to its design and frequency response, going with these Image Dynamics ID8’s you won’t miss any depth that you are used to getting with say a 12. Thanks to its small enclosure needs, you can get it where you wouldn’t have a sub previously. Or you can get more in a small space. I had a custom box made for under by back seat, and it’s ported. And thanks to the small airspace requirements, it’ll hold four 8’s and is tuned to 35hz! Needless to say, this bass-head is very excited. Now let’s see how they sound.


New Order: Blue Monday – this is a great track to test tight punchy bass.  The bass at the beginning of the track was just that.  The bass was tight and extremely tight and extremely punchy, with a very well controlled cone.  Other beats in the track were deeper, fuller, and hit even harder.

Sir Mix a Lot: I’m your Testarossa – the track again had both tight fast beats, and longer fuller beats. Tight beats hit really hard like a sledgehammer.  The longer beats were still well controlled, yet played with really good extension and a ton of authority.  It hit really hard, and did so cleanly.

Lady Gaga: Starstruck – this track provided even more output.  Beats were again very well controlled, very clean, and hit really really hard.  It played deep, played clean, and hit really hard.

Techmaster PB: Activate and Time to Jam – my old school subwoofer torture track.  It played really, really deep, with long sustained bass that played with excellent output, and was really clean.  It took things to a whole new level.  The Image Dynamic ID8’s played with so much output, and so deep, it sounded like two 12’s!

Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra- to test for its resolution capabilities, I turned to this classic performed by Beliner Philharmoniker.  The sustained rumble from the organ that was constant thru the whole track was extremely deep, yet the Image Dynamic ID8's managed to play it without a problem, and did so with good authority.  And the resolution that was revealed from the mallet hitting the tympani was not expected.  They were actually very musical. Much more so than expected, especially at their price point.


The array of four Image Dynamic ID8’s played very well!  I had high expectations for what four of the ID8’s could do.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  Although the math was supported.  Based on cone area, four 8’s would have close to the same cone area as two 12’s.  In cranking the four 8’s, they sounded like two 12’s!  Only with less required airspace.  I can’t get two ported 12’s to fit under the back seat of my Nissan Titan.  And it played just as deep!  Thanks to the great build quality, they should also provide years of use.  And with its low frequency response, small enclosure size, yet good power handling, the Image Dynamics ID8 is game changing!  Based on its design, features, quality, and performance, the Image Dynamics ID8 has earned our Editor’s Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at  Reference gear used: Kenwood DNX997XR reference series receiver,  Nakamichi NDST500A 12 channel processor 10 channel amplifier, Wavtech Link 500.1 sub amp, German Maestro M-Line 3-way component speakers, Alpine Type-X 2-way component speakers.