Looking for a great subwoofer is actually pretty easy. You want lots of boom? Get front-ported ones. Tight bass? Get one with sealed enclosures, or one with a down-firing port. Sprinkle $1,200 worth of loonies, and it's actually difficult to get a bad one.
The sub $1,000 subs (see what I did there?) is where the challenge lies. The front-ported models are usually mind-bogglingly boomy, and the sealed/down-firing ported ones tend to be too weak for home theatre applications.
I usually recommend the Paradigm DSP3100 with ARC calibration kit in this sub-$1,000 price category. The problem is that the sub is still too boomy for music applications, even after the ARC calibration. Further, you still need to buy the ARC kit separately and use a laptop to do the calibration. The biggest problem, however: Paradigm has discontinued the model.
In the quest to find a viable replacement that is also more user friendly and accurate, I stumbled upon the Martin Logan Dynamo 600x with ARC capability that you can do using your mobile phone, so you don't need to buy a separate ARC kit (regular ARC is still available). From the standpoint of price, this unit fits the bill, and it's also bottom ported, which means the bass reproduction will be tight.
This sub's true strength is its phenomenal musical reproduction. A lot of subs in this price range will take good, fast bassist material and simply smear it together, with no specific note distinction. This includes my past favourite.
As long as you are not asking it to produce insane volume levels and sub 20Hz material, this sub performs extremely well for LFE reproduction in movies, too. Bear in mind that this sub is sealed, and it has only a 240-watt amp. Since it is not a ported design, the driver must fight with the internal cabinet volume while it is moving in and out - there are no ports for the air to move freely. Generally, this makes the sub more accurate, but the sealed designs usually give up a little in sheer output. But this little Dynamo still rocks my 10' x 16' x 7' dedicated home theatre.
What impressed me further is how stiff the driver is. Not just the material of the cone, but the stiffness of the surround as well.
About Mobile-Based ARC
As mentioned before, in order to use the regular ARC, you would still need to spend $130, use a laptop, and have some patience. The result is pretty good, but it is far from being practical. With mobile ARC, you can simply download a free app (available for Android and iOS). I find that iOS offers much better accuracy thanks to the microphone, though Martin Logan notes that ARC mobile for Android has a measurement procedure for measuring the phone's microphone response so it doesn't effect ARC measurements and corrections. Connect the app to the subwoofer via Bluetooth. The end result is not as accurate as using the ARC kit, but it's sufficient if your room is not too big.
Listening to the Casiopea Perfect Live II LaserDisc, it's clear to me that the sub is extremely tight. When a drum is whacked, this sound is accurately reproduced with the same tightness. Bass guitars are accurately reproduced. You can hear the distinction when the bassist goes between open and closed notes as well as how tight he is gripping the strings. The bass drum kicks in Conjunction and Tetsuo Sakurai's bass guitar slaps are so impressive. Now that is accurate!
Testing various movies including Ready Player One and Rampage played through a Panasonic UB900 THX Certified UHD BD player with bass management controlled by a Pioneer SC-LX801, the sub never skipped a beat. All the rumble and explosions were reproduced in a convincing manner.
It's not perfect, of course. The power amp could be more powerful. But at the price level of $700 ea., this subwoofer is one of the best I've tested thus far.
• 10-inch inverted surround poly cone woofer
• 240 Watts (peak) amplifier
• Low-turbulance, ported design
• Digital control system via smartphone app
• Anthem Room Correction (ARC) via mobile app (Android and iOS) or PC
• RCA and speaker level inputs
• SWT-X Wireless Receiver & Transmitter compatibility (sold separately)