By tesseract on Aug 16, 2017 at 8:17 PM
  1. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
    Staff Member
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    96
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE

    JTR Speakers Captivator 118 HT Review

    Manufacturer & Model:
    JTR Speakers Captivator 118 HT
    MSRP:
    $1599
    Link:
    http://jtrspeakers.com/
    Highlights:
    Low distortion, high efficiency, LF Adjustment, compact size.
    Summary:
    The Captivator 118 HT is subtle, yet forceful when called upon. Parts, build quality and performance belie the low cost of entry into the upper realm of subwooferdom.
    [​IMG]




    Introduction
    JTR Speakers is a recognized force in the high-end audio world, both in consumer and pro sound applications. Owner, Jeff Permanian, engineers and then builds powerhouse products that pull out the stops in their respective categories. Nothing JTR does is halfway. The company motto is "No Holds Barred Audio Design Philosophy," and they have a reputation for laying back the hair with massive dynamics while simultaneously making the arm hairs stand on end with musical excitement. The Captivator 118 HT is the latest example of this genre-busting performance, and happens to be JTR's least expensive subwoofer.

    The 118 HT uses a nondescript, utilitarian cabinet. Weighing in at 129 lbs. and standing at 30 in. high, its size and appearance exudes brawn, purpose built like a pickup truck for work duty. The matte black lacquer paint lends itself well to the home theater environment and custom finishes are available upon request. A DSP massaged SpeakerPower ICE amplifier, JTR-proprietary Eminence-sourced driver and detachable power cord rounds out the package.


    Features
    18″ subwoofer drivers with 19 mm xmax (each way) and 60mm Xmech (peak to peak)
    Ultra low moving mass (mms 253 grams)
    High strength motor design (165.8 bl^2/re)
    Custom treated/damped cone
    Motor with 240oz magnets and 1/2″ thick steel
    Bass Reflex Design tuned to 17hz
    Heavily braced cabinet
    Huge slot port for minimal turbulence and compression
    Completely front firing for versatile installation
    Magnetically attached grill
    Built in 700 watt RMS, DSP optimized, class D amplifier
    Amplifier features XLR and RCA connectors, 12v trigger, auto turn on, adjustable delay, low end, and low pass filter
    Amplifier warranty increased to 3 years


    [​IMG]


    Evaluation Equipment
    • Emotiva XMC-1
    • Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2
    • Emotiva XPA-3 Gen 2
    • Dayton SA1000
    • Sony BDP S590 & Pioneer DV-610AV
    • Vapor Audio Sundog - L/R mains
    • Chane A2rx-c - Center
    • Chane A2rx-c - Surrounds
    • Chase Home Theater VS-18.1 x 2
    • Vizio E550VL
    • h/k TC35C/Ortofon Super OM10/Pro-Ject Phono Box S

    Installation
    The 118 HT found its temporary home along my left wall, just in front of my left main speaker. I ran a single RCA cable to the SpeakerPower ICE amp's LFE jack, letting my pre/pro handle crossover/distance/level and room correction settings, with only minor tweaking needed from the amp controls. Delay was used via amp's variable phase control to compensate for the sub's forward positioning relative to the front mains. The LF Adjust knob allows one to digitally massage the sub's ported alignment of 24 dB/octave roll off into a more gentle 12 dB/octave slope, coupling with the room like a sealed subwoofer does. This flexibility is helpful for rooms that do not have a lot of natural gain and was key to integration as my space is a bit of a bass black hole. The level control was adjusted to match the mains, Room EQ Wizard measurements were used to ensure proper integration was achieved, then I was off to the races!

    [​IMG]

    Listening
    Sade The Essential Sade
    via TIDAL - "Hang On To Your Love," the rolling bass line that carries the song is delineated precisely, each string pluck and note up and down the scale is distinct from the other. A good song to start my auditioning, the 118 HT put me into the mood to hear more.

    Gorillaz Demon Days via TIDAL - Following the segue from the first track, "Intro," the second track "Last Living Souls" has an infectious bass groove that counters the keyboard melody, together they carry the song along. The intense lows immediately set off the dish cabinet in my kitchen and a couple of house walls as well. I have lived here for over 9 years and have gone through the house dampening down extraneous noises over the years, thinking I have done a good job of it. I might have a bit more to do as this song reveals.

    The title track, "Demon Days" is likely the best capture on this album. The seemingly "invisible" attribute of the JTR, which I will speak about more, underpins this song, actually enhancing the mids and highs (strings are a standout) as a good subwoofer will do. I do not hear a subwoofer, I hear music.

    Hitting the sub HARD with Bassotronics via TIDAL, I cranked the volume on torture test, "Sub Bass Excursion". I feared for my mains but never found the limit to this sub. I also had concern for a nearby house plant as it started flapping its branches with the deep stuff found on "Bass I Love You"!

    Deadmau5 while(1<2) via Tidal - The first song, "Avaritia," kept my attention riveted, the 118 HT motivating the EDM beat right along. This song often gives me goosebumps and that sensation was present and accounted for. The third song, "Ice Age (deadmau5 remix)," is something else, quite a treat. Enveloping 360 degree bass came from all around in the MLP and for many listening positions outside of that, making me bounce around the room checking the sound in other seats, all of which received a big dose of delicious bass. The 118 HT pressurized my medium-sized room with ease.

    U2 "Still Haven't Found What I am Looking For" - I have listened to many old familiar pop songs I used to dislike, and found myself liking some of them better, having now having heard them on a high fidelity system. While I am not a huge U2 fan, I respect their work and enjoy some of it, especially the early efforts when I was in '80's high school, but the 118 HT shows that this song is not that well recorded as far as bass instruments are concerned. The bass guitar climbs up and down the scale but is rendered almost as a one note blur. There is hardly any bass drum impact to speak of. The highs are a bit above average, the SS&I is well above average, so this was a bit puzzling. This is no fault of the subwoofer at all and I credit the 118 HT for revealing the true nature of this recording as delivered through TIDAL. This lack of recorded bass articulation was not the case when "With Or Without You" (Remastered 2007) started to play. The bass guitar and every note played made itself known, especially around the 3:35 min. mark. Articulation is a strong point of this subwoofer, which shined a bright light on the foundation of this track.


    Movies/Concert/TV
    TV viewing has shown this subwoofer to be completely unobtrusive, calling attention to itself only when needed, adding surprising heft to casual network viewing, enhancing even the mundane audio experience of the Netflix documentaries that comprise most of my tele-time. Auto turn-on happens easy enough, but needs a bit more juice with casual Prime time TV viewing. When dialog dominated the scene, the lack of LF material sometimes caused the subwoofer to go into stand-by mode, causing me to miss that first bit of impact when it hit as the subwoofer kicked back on out of Standby mode. I spoke to Jeff about this and it is due to hitting the Energy Star ratings (a minor quibble) and the inherent high efficiency of the 18" driver (a major boon).

    Hanna via Blu-ray - For those that have not seen this movie, Hanna lives a very isolated life in a forest, away from civilization and any experience with it. Shock and awe are induced when Hanna encounters her first airplane, the initial rumble of the plane's introduction as it apperars suddenly overhead grabbed my attention, too. A bit later into the movie, the escape scene audio track will have you tapping your toe, bobbing your head or whatever it is you do when the music hits you. The soundtrack is epic, with music that's clean and dynamic and a perfect match to the intelligent plot. The fight scene, after Hanna is captured and placed into a holding cell, really sealed the deal. The impact of the hits and kicks was sealed-like, the vented 118 HT response digging down low, the sustain long. The enclosure's low tuning alignment combined with the LF Adjustment control really come into play here. This movie is a subwoofer workout and the Captivator made one of my favorite movies fun.

    Interstellar
    via Blu-ray - In Scene 17, when Cooper detaches into the singularity, my room began to shake and pulse. Sometimes I boost the subwoofer level a half decibel or more, so I dove for the pre/pro remote to check it. Nope, completely flat! This type of audible immersion and the subwoofer's iron-fisted grip on my room drew me into the moment, putting me right into the craft with Cooper. Or rather, my room became the craft!

    Metallica Through The Never via Blu-ray - The other movies have serious bass content from time to time, but this concert film is a bassfest acid test, and will give any subwoofer system an extended workout. Lesser subwoofers can struggle with the onslaught, but the Captivator 118 HT just laughed it off, even when I decided to get crazy and boost the subwoofer level on my pre/pro by 3, 6 and even an insane 10 dB, just for fun! There is nothing wrong with a bit or a lot of bass boost fun, on occasion, if the sub is up to it. The Captivator 118 HT certainly was.

    The undergound garage scene places our skateboarder rooting around in his van when James drives by in his '36 Ford custom, shooting bass-imbued flames. I ran that scene with the aforementioned flat, medium and high subwoofer levels, as I did with Robert's bass guitar warm up as our intrepid hero passes in the hall. I initially wanted to catch a few bass scenes for review impressions, but my neighbor heard my house shaking and stopped by, so I let the entire show play on. Impressed with what he called the best bass he had ever heard, the 118 HT literally hammered that home with the rooftop sledgehammer swings at show's end. My neighbor looked away from the screen (at me) and his jaw was on the floor. As Metallica fans, we enjoyed the epic sound quality of this show (in spite of the cheesy plot line) and the 118 HT was a huge player in making this a memorable event!


    [​IMG]


    Measurements utilizing Room EQ Wizard and miniDSP UMIK-1
    The bottom traces are left/right (red and green) full range at the listening position with Dirac Live Full room correction. Top trace (turquoise), the microphone is nearfield, the Captivator 118 HT pulled into the middle of the room with Dirac turned off. Response is almost ruler flat from 17 Hz to the 70 Hz crossover, with the same 17 Hz extension as the listening postion.


    [​IMG]



    Conclusion

    The Cap may be labeled as a home theater subwoofer, but don't let that label fool you as it's quite the musical sub as well. A defining feature, one that sets it apart from most subwoofers, is the LF Adjustment. Dialing in the DSP curve to fit my particular room gain, or lack of it, was an important and extremely helpful tool for integrating the 118 HT successfully in my space. Break in took a while, although the 118 HT sound fantastic right out of the gate. Its size is quite compact for a vent-tuned 18" sub and it did not take long for me to get used to its physical presence in my media/living room.

    How does it sound? The Captivator 118 HT has no real sound, it just is. Low distortion high dynamic range bass is there when needed, but its physical location is completely invisible whether it is just adding the foundation to regular program material or taking the lead role in a music or movie extravaganza with bass seeming to come from all around. It goes about its business of making your main speakers appear bigger and badder than they are by themselves. This is a sound that will perk the ears of the most jaded bass aficionado. The JTR Captivator 118 HT is a high fidelity statement piece in its class and a worthy addition to any serious media system. Delicate, yet forceful, a true iron fist in a velvet glove.


    [​IMG]


    Captivator 118 HT Specifications:
    • Frequency: +/- 3db 19-190hz (in room response below 17hz)
    • Amplifier: 700 watts RMS (ICE Power 700ASC module)
    • Dimensions (HxWxD): 30″ x 20″ x 22.5″ (HxWxD)
    • Weight: 129 lbs
    • Construction: 18mm, 13ply, void free, Baltic Birch (several times stronger and more expensive than MDF)
    • Exterior Finish: Matte Black Paint (custom finishes available)
    • Connectors: RCA and XLR
    • Warranty: 5 year Manufacturer defect
     
    j_brow004, Jon Liu, DrDyna and 2 others like this.

Comments

Discussion in 'AV Equipment Reviews' started by tesseract, Aug 16, 2017.

    1. tripplej

      tripplej Senior AV Addict

      Joined:
      Jul 13, 2017
      Messages:
      1,204
      Likes Received:
      105
      Thanks for the review. Very well written and detailed. I suspect a lot of the older songs were poorly recorded and as such these high quality speakers can easily reveal those discrepancies to the listener.
       
      tesseract likes this.
    2. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      Thank you, tripplej.

      Yes, the 118 HT has tons of detail and let me know when the song did not, indeed!
       
    3. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
      Staff Member

      Joined:
      Jan 20, 2017
      Messages:
      1,992
      Likes Received:
      446
      Location:
      Balt/Wash Metro
      Great review Dennis!

      Sounds like this sub is a world-beater! It has the look, that's for sure!! Wow! Enjoyed the write-up!!
       
      #4 Todd Anderson, Aug 17, 2017
      Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
      tesseract likes this.
    4. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      Thank you, Todd. I enjoyed the 118 HT very much. My house loved it, too! :hsd:

      :bigsmile:
       
      #5 tesseract, Aug 17, 2017
      Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
    5. Asere

      Asere Active Member

      Joined:
      Apr 14, 2017
      Messages:
      242
      Likes Received:
      35
      Thank you for the review. Sounds like an incredible sub.
      I am going to have to get the Metallica Into the Never and listen to it with my subs.
       
      tesseract likes this.
    6. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
      Staff Member

      Joined:
      Jan 20, 2017
      Messages:
      1,992
      Likes Received:
      446
      Location:
      Balt/Wash Metro
      I think the notion of some music (no matter how much you "like" the music) sounding bad with great gear is an interesting topic. Probably worth its own thread.... I know exactly what you mean. Very disappointing to hear great music that's matched with poor sonics. Great gear can open that wound and pour salt in it!
       
      tesseract likes this.
    7. ShpongleDMT

      Joined:
      May 7, 2017
      Messages:
      80
      Likes Received:
      18
      Great review. It sounds like a kick *** subwoofer.
       
      tesseract likes this.
    8. j_brow004

      j_brow004 New Member

      Joined:
      Jul 7, 2017
      Messages:
      4
      Likes Received:
      1
      Thank you for the review. I am curious where you placed the sub in your room and If the driver was placed facing your listening position?
       
      tesseract likes this.
    9. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      Hello!

      The 118 HT was placed on the far left, in front of my left main. I tried the driver in many orientations and it worked well no matter what, but settled on facing it into the left wall.

      That spot has always worked well for sub duty, orientation is the icing and it varies from sub to sub.
       
      j_brow004 likes this.
    10. j_brow004

      j_brow004 New Member

      Joined:
      Jul 7, 2017
      Messages:
      4
      Likes Received:
      1
    11. Asere

      Asere Active Member

      Joined:
      Apr 14, 2017
      Messages:
      242
      Likes Received:
      35
      Dennis is your through the never the 3D one?
       
    12. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      I am not sure, but will check when I get home.
       
      Asere likes this.
    13. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
      Staff Member

      Joined:
      Apr 2, 2017
      Messages:
      1,400
      Likes Received:
      260
      Location:
      Alabama
      Nice review Dennis... ship it on to me and I will clear it later with our giveaway winner. It looks like a beast, and from your review, it is apparently just that.
       
    14. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      Thank you, all!

      Sonnie, you are gonna have to get your own, buddy. There has to be an empty corner in your living room that is just begging for a mega sub, right? :T
       
    15. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
      Staff Member

      Joined:
      Apr 2, 2017
      Messages:
      1,400
      Likes Received:
      260
      Location:
      Alabama
      Oh c'mon Dennis... don't be that way man... I'm gonna quit lovin' you man!
       
    16. Jack1949

      Jack1949 New Member

      Joined:
      Jun 9, 2017
      Messages:
      7
      Likes Received:
      14
      Location:
      Loveland, Colorado
      Ship it to me, ship it to me, I am the giveaway winner! :wave:

      Dennis, I reread your review over the weekend, and it just got me more excited to have won such a high quality subwoofer. Funny you tested it with Sade, I have her "Best of Sade" CD and it is one of my favorites. I'll be using it to test out my Cap 118HT when it arrives. Can't wait to hear it.

      Jack
       
      tesseract likes this.
    17. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      Jack1949,

      Please let us know your impressions. I am super-picky and movies come second to music in my home. That is what impressed me most about the 118 HT. Having heard many JTR offerings, this one follows suit with Jeff's dedication to accuracy and low distortion. It is not just a one note home theater effort, it plays music without apology.
       
    18. Jack1949

      Jack1949 New Member

      Joined:
      Jun 9, 2017
      Messages:
      7
      Likes Received:
      14
      Location:
      Loveland, Colorado
      Hi Dennis,

      Yep, I plan to start a thread to show pictures of the sub in my home and to give my impressions. Music is my main interest (2 ch, multichannel, SACD), that's why your review peaked my interest in the 118HT before I won the contest. Later after I found out I won, I reread your review and it just fueled the fires to hear this sub, so I'm trying to contain my excitement until it arrives and I can hear it myself. I can't say that I'm picky about music or that I consider myself an audiophile, I only know what I like...clean enveloping music without hearing the speakers producing it. That's one reason I love my Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and Horizon center with RAAL. From what I've gathered from your review, the 118HT is just what I'm looking for and will blend right in. I like my SVS SB13 Ultra, but it's in my walkout basement (on a concrete slab) in a 4500+ cu ft room (I remeasured after I posted in the contest thread), so its limits are being pushed to get the sound I want. That's why I've been considering upgrading to a ported sub (or two).

      Jack
       
      Todd Anderson likes this.
    19. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
      Staff Member

      Joined:
      Jan 20, 2017
      Messages:
      1,992
      Likes Received:
      446
      Location:
      Balt/Wash Metro
      Jack - we can't wait to see this sub in your home! :)
       
    20. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      OK, I just got a chance to look at this and no, it is not the 3D.
       
      Asere likes this.
    21. tesseract

      tesseract Senior Admin
      Staff Member
      Thread Starter

      Joined:
      Nov 12, 2016
      Messages:
      510
      Likes Received:
      96
      Location:
      Lincoln, NE
      Hey, Jack1949,

      My reference mains also have the RAAL 70-20 XR Amorphous Core. I absolutely love that ribbon, few tweeters can touch it and it is a great match for the Audio Technology C-Quenze 15H52 Woofer.
       
      Jack1949 likes this.
    22. Jack1949

      Jack1949 New Member

      Joined:
      Jun 9, 2017
      Messages:
      7
      Likes Received:
      14
      Location:
      Loveland, Colorado
      Couldn't agree more on the RAAL ribbon.

      Jack
       

Share This Page