My review will follow the same format as Jim's for consistency sake.
A big thanks for Nick for allowing a basshead like myself the opportunity to play with a driver so far from my normal exposure to the large SPL drivers that take a ton of power. The mag is certainly a unique driver.
Jim and I auditioned this driver in his '94 E-150, under the exact same test conditions used for other listening sessions we've done. Power was provided by a PG Tantrum T1200.1, set to 800W @ 4 ohms. In use, the woofer needed nowhere near that level of power to reach its full potential, IMO. Enclosure used was 1 cubic foot, sealed. The woofer was lowpassed @ 63Hz, 24dB/oct.
When I first recieved this prototype I am used to seeing very "unique" ways of shipping. Items ranging from pool noodles and foam to packing peanuts are common to find. However with this proto the shipping was double boxed and I would guess to be very close to the packaging that will be used for production models. The build quality was excellent and to be honest I was a bit concerned to begin with when I realized how unique this driver would be. I was very surprised to see very clean glue joints and neatly soldered terminals.
WHAT'S TO LIKE:
I won't go into as much detail as Jim did for the sealed review, but honestly this driver was designed to be used in a sealed box and will only be recommend to be used in a sealed box. Ported drastically reduces the power handling due to the soft suspension used. After all this driver was designed to be a low cost, small mounting depth, small box driver. Nick aimed for a 1 cf sealed box for this driver and hit it dead on. I would think a smaller box would do ok and a slightly larger box wouldn't be horrible, but 1cf is where its at. Sealed this driver excelled and took all the amp wanted. I even found a Young Jeezy CD in Jim's cd case to throw at the mag and it sounded good, for the source used. It played as loud as the ported 12" driver Jim daily drives with.
WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE:
Well in case you haven't figured it out from the previous statements in this review, ported is not the enclosure for this driver. Now I know this will concern some of you, but you have to realize the way this driver was designed, you don't need the larger ported box to compensate for lack of output as it has plenty sealed. By using the recommended 1cf sealed box and 600-800 watts of power you will have one of the most impressive sounding subwoofer setups around, and still have respectable output. Now if you are only concerned with loudness this driver obviously isnt for you, but if you are looking for a nice sounding driver, especially if you have limited space, this is the driver for you.
One other issue that I haven't had a chance to discuss with Nick and is a very very minor issue is the terminals. The basket is painted and I suspect that it is insulated so this probably isn't an issue, but I will state it now. The wire going through the terminals, because of the slim basket design, comes close to the basket if your not careful installing it. As I said this is a minor issue and if installed properly you wont have to worry about it, but it may be something to be addressed now that saves a few headaches for installers.
When I first installed this driver and began listening to it with Jim I was very impressed with it. Something that comes to mind is Jim saying, " I am going to have a hard time recommending Vanadiums when the mag sounds this good, especially at is price point." I believe that sums up my opinion of the mag in one sentence.
Low price, Small box, low power requirements, all with the quality of Si products, I'd say a match made in heaven.