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Parts Express Dayton RSS390HF-4 15″ Reference Home Theater Subwoofer Review

If you are in the market for an affordable yet high quality 15″ subwoofer for your next DIY project, then look no further than the Dayton Reference 15″ subwoofer. While Dayton may not be a household name, they produce some of the best affordable speakers, subs and amplifiers on the market. This sub is perfect for the DIYer looking to get extra clean and extremely low bass yet has the space for a large cabinet. With a 4.5 to 5 cubic foot cabinet, this sub is more than capable at producing sub 20 hz frequencies that can that can rival $1000+ commercial subwoofer systems. This sub makes the perfect centerpiece to any high quality, high output home theater system and you will be hard pressed at finding anything else like it at this price. Click Here for Additional Information on this subwoofer.

Click Here for sub 20Hz Home Theater cabinet/enclosure plans using the Dayton 15″ Reference Sub

Build Quality

To be honest, this is one of the highest quality subs I have seen to date. While I didn’t have a chance to weigh it, this thing easily weighs in excess of 20-30 pounds. The cone is very high quality and very attractive. The rubber surround is extremely heavy duty and very durable. The basket is a first rate heavy duty cast piece. The sub features heavy duty push type gold connectors so no soldering or crimp style connectors needed here. Simply push the connector open and slide the speaker wire in. All in all, everything on this sub screams high quality. There is not a single part I can point out as being cheap in any way. Build quality is a perfect 5/5. Click Here for Additional Information on this subwoofer


Specs on this sub are very impressive and easy to work with. The sub will work in both ported and sealed cabinets so any DIYer can easily build an enclosure to get massive amounts of bass. This sub can also be used in an existing enclosure provided it is large enough. Specs feature:

-500 watts RMS and 800 watts MAX for high output
-Frequency response of 18-90 hz.
-FS of 18 hz for extra low frequency reproduction
-14mm XMax for high excursion
-2.5″ voice coil diameter
-4ohms impedance for getting the most out of your amplifier
-150oz magnet
Click Here for more Specs

I would say the specs on this sub are easily a 5 out 5 which makes it easy to build an enclosure for provided you have the space for a large cabinet.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is where the RSS390HF-4 really shines. I have mine in a 5 cubic foot (approx) ported enclosure using the Dayton HPSA500 500W Subwoofer Amplifier and this thing really rocks. It easily produces sub 20 hz frequencies. I have had every thing from 8″, 10″ and 12″ subs in all different types of enclosures and this 15″ in a ported enclosure produces some of the lowest, cleanest bass notes I have ever heard, hands down. I mainly use mine for home theater purposes and after building the cabinet and getting it all hooked up, I went back and watched some of my older movies , I heard (more like felt) notes I never even knew were there. I will post the plans and specs for my easy to build enclosure later for those interested in building your own. One of my favorite bass tracks is on the Flight of the Phoenix remake. The first scene where the plane is flying and about to land is simply amazing. It must be heard to be believed. All I can say is, you won’t hear anything like it from any subwoofer south of $1000 and you definitely will not hear anything like it at your local Best Buy. Once you hear this subwoofer you will be amazed at what you have been missing in your movie watching. I rate the sound quality of this sub a perfect 5/5. Click Here for Additional Information on this subwoofer

Overall Impressions

My overall impressions are that this is basically the perfect home theater sub for the DIYer wanting $2000 worth of sound quality at a quarter of the price. It produces some ultra low clean bass and will work in a variety of both sealed and ported enclosures provided they are large enough. About the only downside on this sub is the fact that you have to build or use a rather large enclosure to experience the extreme low frequencies. If you have the room though, the Dayton Reference 15″ subwoofer is probably your best choice. I give it a perfect 5/5 and would even consider any other subwoofer at this price point. Click Here for Additional Information on this subwoofer

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