JTR Captivator RS1 closed subwoofer review
Home theater fans will most likely be familiar with JTR speakers. If you crave powerful bass even in the lowest part of the audible frequency range, the JTR brand is the first one that can arise. We were also curious about the impressive bass performance, so we chose the Captivator RS1 subwoofer as our latest test subject. The Captivator RS1 is the smallest subwoofer that JTR makes, but that doesn’t mean it’s weak. With a 2400 Watt amplifier, this model falls into the “entry-level” category, yet is much more powerful than similar products from most other subwoofer manufacturers.
JTR Captivator RS1 design
The manufacturer did not place too much emphasis on aesthetic appearance. That doesn’t mean it looks bad; on the contrary, we loved its simplicity. Simple, black, oblong in shape with slightly rounded edges. The matte black colour is designed to be non-reflective in home theater rooms. Thanks to its not small subwoofer, but its matte color, it can probably disappear in the corners of many rooms, especially in low light conditions. A grille covers the speaker, which makes the device even less conspicuous.
The JTR Captivator RS1 is a closed subwoofer with a powerful driver, a Class D, optimized DSP amplifier, housed in an optimally sized speaker cabinet, and represents plenty of energy and power. For example, inductance control was considered in the design of the drive. Inductance has long been an enemy of linearity in subwoofers. Inductance is the voltage created by a change in the electromagnetic field during the motion of a sound coil. It is the opposite of the electric current that the amplifier transmits to the coil, thereby reducing the output voltage, especially in higher frequency ranges. Inductance also contributes to the degree of bias. This is a serious problem in really rugged, large subwoofers that contain a lot of voice coils, like in RS1. To overcome the inductance, the JTR added a 400-gram aluminum short-circuit ring to the motor to help reduce the induced voltage. The result should be a more uniform frequency response, with more outputs in the center beam frequencies and fewer outputs over the entire frequency range.
The drive motor is remarkable with three prestigious magnets. It is very strong and is attached to a cast aluminum basket. The cone is a paper / kevlar mixture with a real carbon fiber dust cover. Attached to the frame is a very large, half-roll, foamed cover. The drive was placed in a birch plywood cabinet. Birch is much stronger than the standard MDF from which most gravure cabinets are made. As a result, not as much weight is required, so the side panels and stiffeners are not as thick as other deep boxes. This makes it much easier to move the RS1. The internal stiffener consists of a few panels that run from the front baffle to the rear panel and reinforce the front baffle holding the solid guide. The inside of the cabinet was lined with wool, which the speaker’s designer, Jeff Parmanian, found to be a very good cushioning material. The legs are strong rubber rings and can help dampen cabinet vibrations when placed on the floor. RCA and XLR, 12 Volt trigger connectors are located on the subwoofer.
The test was performed in a medium-sized room where the acoustics still needed treatment. We recommended placing bass traps in the corners for the owner. The amplifier connected was a Pioneer SC-LX901. We started listening to classical jazz music with the song Milt Jackson-Bags Groove. The subwoofer provided excellent performance, the bass ranges were clear and loud, we heard no distortions. The deep ones were wall-shaking, just as we expected.
We watched the 2012 film Shame, directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender. Thanks to the Captivator subwoofer, we also noticed details from the film that hadn’t appeared before. We got a natural, realistic sound and a wide stage picture.
The only real downside to the Captivator RS1 is its appearance. It’s not a very nice subwoofer, however, many of the buyers of muscular, really percussive subwoofers aren’t really interested in aesthetics. This is a device that is intended primarily for dedicated home theaters and is not necessarily brought to the fore. If the JTR were to design a more decorative look, the subwoofer would be a little more expensive. The RS1 is a subwoofer that is not gigantic in size but also offers excellent performance. The JTR could do a few things to make this device much more aesthetic, such as a curved speaker cabinet, a glossy or real wood surface. This would entail a price increase, but at least then the appearance of the subwoofer would be equal to its peak performance. It would make the device more attractive to many more customers. The Captivator RS1 is a high-performance subwoofer that puts tremendous power into a relatively small housing.
One of the things that might be a downside is the high cost, but when you consider the quality components and peak performance, this subwoofer is worth the price. Now let’s talk about the benefits of the Captivator RS1. First and foremost is the often mentioned performance. Extensive stage image, very accurate frequency transmission, low distortion, huge output power characterize the device. Few subwoofers offer this level of performance in such a small size.
Written by Róbert Polgár