Who'd be a subwoofer? Habitually pushed into a corner, and only called upon to perform when a band's bass player slaps and tickles or a blockbuster movie's giant monkey hits the deck – it doesn't sound the most glamorous-ever part, does it?
It is, however, a critical role, and a sub needs not only bass reach, but also skills such as definition, pace and rhythm. Only then can it really contribute to the overall presentation. Get things wrong – think low and ill-defined bass – and a sub can drag down all around it.
Out of the box, REL's R-305 certainly looks the part, with a particularly luxurious finish. A neat touch is the front-fascia mounted control panel: no more back-breaking to get round the rear of the box.
Choose your connection
REL supplies two choices of amplifier connection – either via the hi/lo-level input (where the sub receives the same signal as your main speakers) or via the LFE input (the sub's crossover is bypassed and the R-305 replays the source material's LFE settings).
The former setting is ideal if you're looking to integrate into a stereo system, but from either input, the results impress.
This isn't the largest box, but it reaches down deep: the 300w amp and 10in long-throw driver combine to pound out a hefty performance, adding depth, weight and expanding the soundstage.
However, the R-305 demands a couple of compromises: its big bass comes with a slight lack of definition and pace. The REL can also sound a touch monotonal compared to the class-leaders, while its slight sluggishness means it's not as adept as, say, B&W's PV1 at keeping pace with agile sounds.