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This is my review of the SSA DCON 12” dual 4Ω VC subwoofer. No names have been changed because there is no innocence in the realm of audio testing. There is only the truth.
For any review to be worth its weight in gildings, one must prove their own worth. I have been involved in car audio for 8 years, home audio for the same, and pro-audio for about 12 years. I have perfect pitch. I scored a 100% on a hearing test one week prior to this test, my score of 100/100 was only achieved by one other person at that center. And we all know, none of that really means anything, so let’s get to the review.

---Appearance---

Opening the box revealed custom foam inserts glued to the box to hold the subwoofer in optimal shipping condition without being wasteful, honestly this is a very great thing in my opinion. Too many companies throw tons of padding and random objects in a box in hope to absorb shock and impact to their product, but SSA took a logical and smart approach. I live in Seattle, we care about this kind of thing. Obviously, the sub was received in optimal condition.



Once I took the bag off of the subwoofer there was one thing that I immediately noticed, “wet look.” Yes, vintage 80’s gimmicky-stylish shininess from the cone of the black pressed speaker. I laughed a little to myself; it was a good laugh. I’ve never understood why people wanted their speakers to double as mirrors, but this ebony gloss stirred memories of early childhood audio.


The sub appears balanced, the magnet, surround, basket, everything appears in good proportion. A heavy black-coated metal basket and durable spring loaded terminals inspire confidence in this being a well built product. The magnet is a little longer than I would have expected and smaller in diameter, not that it means anything on the positive or negative except that it is a little unusual; which to me is often a positive.



---Installing it into the box---

Ok, so I’m going to drop another product on anyone that hasn’t used it. This is a driver bit with a sleeve. Irwin makes mine. There are 2 advantages to driving screws to with this driver: 1. It holds the screw in place so it doesn’t fall off. 2. It holds the bit onto the screw so you will NEVER slip off the screw and impale your speaker.

About 6 years ago my friend’s father who is a professional woodworker creating amazing canoes and drift-boats said he wanted to make us a box. The result was a geometrically perfect 1.2 cu. ft. box for a 12” subwoofer, with a total of about 60 countersunk screws, “Just in case”. It has been installed in over 8 vehicles and still stands proud, and is now our “magical test box”. The DCON was installed to run at 4Ω.


---Subwoofer meets PT cruiser—

The best place for a subwoofer in a PT cruiser is oddly in the rear seat firing up at the ceiling, so that’s where it was placed. Providing the juice to the DCON was a JL 1000/1…so there was no hinting of being underpowered. Lets get to the music.

---Tunez---

Now you may notice, I spelled tunes with a Z, that is because this sub got me a little excited, an aural arousal unsuspected in nature making me spell with an unnecessary style of replacement. Since it can “only” handle 300w, I was not expecting to be very excited with this subwoofer in any manner; I was wrong. Enter my testing CD :
1. Fever – Jeanne Bryson – Focal JMLab disc 1
2. Requim Dies Irae –Guiseppe Verdi – Focal JMLac disc 1
3. Ba Bump –The Black Eyed Peas – Monkey Business

1. Fever – This track was chosen for it’s acoustic standup bass that makes poor quality subwoofers sound squished and separated from the rest of the system. I tested it first at an average listening volume at which you’d use with other people in the car. Yes. I can hear the notes, I can hear the “acoustic tone” of the standup bass, I can feel the impact of the pluck. This track has seen many subs in the same box and same placement of the DCON, none have hit with so much accuracy AND thump as the DCON. It blended very, very well into the rest of my system, even the paper cone did not argue with the metal cones of my 8” Daytons up front.
2. Requim Dies Irae – Low and loose tympanis rock the lows of this song with large bass drums intertwined throughout. When a good subwoofer keeps up with the slight pitch inconsistencies of the acoustic drums, it is a glorious moment. Not many subs have been able to accurately reproduce the drums, but once again the DCON was able to. So I challenged it. The volume knob went up and the DCON kept up without a sweat. I’m not sure how many watts I was feeding it, but there was some serious air movement hitting very low Fq’s without a strain.
3. Ba Bump – Hey, you have to mix it up right? Ba Bump by the Black eyed pease is VERY WELL PRODUCED AND RECORDE, also it has hidden test tones throughout the song which are a gift to those with a system in their vehicle. Towards the end of the song these tones overlap with kicks and other instruments which causes many subs to create a gumbo of tones. The DCON was honestly one of the best subs I’ve heard on this song, it was crisp, sharp, tonally perfect, but provided me with some physical thumping that you need on tracks like this.

My first thought after hearing this sub is, “I want to test an Icon really bad.” I’m afraid many people will be turned away from this subwoofer because of its 300w RMS power handling, but they will be wrong in whatever causes the assumption that it will not perform as wanted. With the subs I’ve tested, the DCON lies between the DIYMA and the SiMag. The DIYMA produces unbelievably accurate tones and blending abilities, but lacks the thump that hip-hop and so much modern music needs. The DCON has more tonal presence than the SiMag, but cannot handle as much power. In my opinion, the DCON was a pleasure to test and will become eventually the subwoofer for my 1963 beetle build.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Some info i forgot--

I tried running the sub at crossover points of 63, 80, and 100. Since I have 8" woofers to handle the lows and mid-lows, a 63hz crossover was un-fair to the sub, there is to much potential to cross it that low. I played with at 100hz and it ran even and flat with no apparent spikes but since I have the 8" drivers on the doors, I felt this was a little overkill. For those without big drivers up front, the DCON could be easily run with crossovers at that height.
 

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Looking good, nice detail on each test song. May I ask if the ohm load was a typo? (you put 4ohms and it is a dual 4 driver, so I am assuming you meant 8ohms mono) Did you try it at 2ohms mono? Also, would be interested to hear your thoughts once the driver is fully broken in.
 

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Thanks for the info guys, yes it was running 2Ω, sorry for the typo!!! As soon as I figure out a way to get more power out of my beetle (30a Generator) without replacing a ton of stuff, Im going to install it in my beetle, excited is an understatement.
 

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Hehe sorry about that Denim! I still have the sub sitting in my garage in the test box because I really want to install it in my Beetle but will have to upgrade the alternator...err replace the 30a generator with a decent alternator. That sub sounded so refreshingly thick and tight that I keep hooking it up to my test amp and smiling. I'm now considering putting it into a custom home theater sub for now since my wallet is not liking the alternator conversion price currently :)
 

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Just curious, what other subs have you tested for comparison?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've tested many of subs, I have never written down a list but Ive done the usual JL W6's, W7s in both 8's,10's, and 13s, SI Mags, DIYMA, many Adire subs, Focal subs (only their lower lines though), i used to play with kickers alot before my SQ days, JVC 8240 (what i run right now), and many others. Unless you mean side by side comparison with this sub. If that's the case, I only tested it against my JVC 8240 and 2x JL 8w7s and the Brahma 15".
 

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Necrooooooooooooooooooo!!!

I just got mine today. It's in a 1.25 cuft sealed box, being fed 400 watts. I'm looking forward to use and break-in. Will post my thoughts in a few weeks.
 

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After a few weeks, there's not much I can say other than this is the best sub I've ever owned. It's simply amazingly accurate. It's perfect for the setup I had envisioned for my car: single amp driving passives up front and sub with the rear channel. Small sub box, moderate power requirements. I bought the single 4-ohm version, which gets fed a healthy 400 watts from my Exile amp. Low-pass is around 90Hz, higher than I want, but my Alpine mids are the limiting factor right now.

These days I mostly listen to electronica, but I've had the Focal CD's downloaded for some time now. I finally got them burned to CD, and thought what the hell, it's been a while since I've listened to music recorded with real instruments.

This is almost as much a review of the Focal CD's as it is the DCON. Both are nothing shy of amazing. I'm on Disc 5 now, I believe, and I have run the gamut from shit-eating grin to laughing hysterically at how good it all sounds.

I can't pick any one song, or even a few... so many songs on that compilation are just incredible to listen to. Such wonderful recording quality, and some crazily good bass notes. I keep telling myself, "THIS is why I spend the money!!!"

But the bass... damn that is some sweet bass. I haven't owned very many subs, and up until I bought a pair of JL 10W6v2's I hadn't really ever owned what I'd consider a "quality" sub. But after having heard some good ones, I do understand the difference now. Hearing the accurate separation of tones in the bass frequencies is something that will never, ever get old for me. I literally cannot stop smiling sometimes.

Right now it's just a bit localized because of the high crossover point, but it's livable. I just can't get over how great it sounds.

The DCON is an unbelievable value, and I couldn't recommend it more, for a budget system that still demands quality sound. The only thing I need to do is move it to face rearward, but I need to get a wedge or something to put under the box since it doesn't have an angled back.

My final verdict: I need to grow an extra hand to give it three thumbs up! :D
 
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