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6 Reasons to Avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 Subwoofer at All Costs

Modern powerful subwoofer indoors, closeup. Audio speaker system

6 Reasons to Avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 Subwoofer at All Costs

Why should you avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 subwoofer? If you’re the sort of viewer who loves splurging for the best of the best in surround sound equipment, you’re flush with options. Some, like the DN15 sub, are absolute monsters in their price point. However, there are some important things to note before plunking down for a subwoofer at this price point.

This in-depth review is going to cover some of the bigger drawbacks of purchasing this subwoofer. You’ll hear common complaints, big design issues, and everything else in between. There are thankfully some alternatives for the DN15 that might prove to be a better fit for your sound system.

What Is the Definitive Technology Descend DN15?

The DN15 is a 15-inch subwoofer retailing for $1799. You’re looking at 1500 watts of peak power consumption over a Class H amplifier. There are a pair of coupled 15-inch radiators for bass frequencies. This is a massive subwoofer with a sound to match. If you’ve been wondering if you can get the windows to rattle while listening to EDM, this might be the sub for you, but we think there are better options.

SpecsDefinitive Technology Descend DN15
Transducer15-inch long-throw woofer
RadiatorsDual XBR configuration
Height24.14 inches
Width23.44 inches
Depth24.91 inches
Peak Power1500 watts
Frequency Response20Hz to 150Hz
Phase Adjustment0 to 180 degrees

Reasons to Avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15

Find out why you should avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 and look elsewhere for your subwoofer.

The Large Size

The overall larger size of the Descend DN15 doesn’t lend itself well to the flexible placement of the subwoofer itself. You’ll find yourself struggling to place it in an ideal location. This isn’t so much a problem with the smaller DN12 series of subwoofers, but the extra size of the DN15 makes it impressive but harder to use.

Now, if you’ve got a larger room, this is less of an issue. However, users with tighter spaces for their home theater experience might want to avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 thanks to its space requirements. There are numerous subwoofers on the market for surround and music listening that provide ample power without the same space requirements.

There Are No Custom EQ Options

Definitive Technology Descend DN15
You won’t find an equalizer with freely adjusted controls on the app or the back of the subwoofer for the DN15.

Calibrating the frequency response of your subwoofer can go a long way for your listening experience. Now, the Descend DN15 does have EQ options, but these are primarily presets. If you’re looking to do any sort of fine-tuning on the sub, you’re out of luck.

Given the overall price point of this subwoofer, it seems a curious omission to lack a full-fledged equalizer. Getting a sub to sit alongside the frequency response of your surround speakers is paramount to getting the absolute best performance out of your audio setup. However, this lack of control is one of the best reasons to avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 subwoofer.

No Native Wireless Capability

Having wireless capabilities on your subwoofer greatly helps with the overall placement. The size of the DN15 was discussed previously, but you’ll find its potential placement hindered by the cabling. You need wiring to get sound out of this particular subwoofer. Aftermarket wireless kits are available for any subwoofer.

However, this would’ve been a great feature to see on the DN15. You’re already operating at a disadvantage when considering the size and lack of control over the sound. Being tethered to your receiver is just one more negative to note about this subwoofer.

They’re Priced at a Premium

It costs a fair bit to great sound. However, when looking at the raw cost of the Definitive Technology Descend DN15, it’s a premium. You’re paying an MSRP of $1799 on this subwoofer by itself. Yes, it is certainly powerful with over 1500 watts of power at peak consumption.

That said, you could very easily get a more robust and flexible subwoofer for the same cost. Home theater buffs likely don’t see the price of this as an issue. As such, this might not be one of the strongest reasons to avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15 subwoofer. It is still something to keep in mind with the overall cost of your surround sound setup, however.

You Can’t Freely Adjust the Phase

This is another one of those control issues that you’ll find with this sub. You can adjust the phase of the signal output, which is great depending on the placement of your sub. That said, it presents an issue as you cannot freely fine-tune the phase response of the sub itself. You’re restricted to 45-degree steps, which makes this a hard one to recommend.

You can certainly see a strong and favorable critical response in favor of the DN15. However, serious audiophiles might want to avoid this one. The lack of control over the phase response as well as the limited EQ options doesn’t instill much confidence as a whole.

The Bass Response Isn’t as Tight as Competitors’ Offerings

Harman Kardon vs Bose
Competitor subwoofer offerings have a much tighter bass response.

When you look at the extreme size of the Definitive Technology Descend DN15, you might be forgiven for thinking it is a monster of bass. That is true to an extent. Unfortunately, you’ll find its competitors like the Focal Professional, KEF, and SVS subs all have a much tighter bass response.

The competition for the DN15 is packing better clarity for both the LFE and stereo subwoofer functionality into smaller cabinets as a whole. Most high-end 12-inch subwoofers are going to give the DN15 a run for its money. Not only that, but you’ll be able to fit those in much tighter spaces compared to the DN15.

Alternatives to the Definitive Technology Descend DN15

Here are three of our favorite alternatives to the Definitive Technology Descend DN15.

Focal Professional ST6 Sub12

The Best Bass Response Money Can Buy
Focal Professional ST6 Sub12 Professional Subwoofer
$2,999.00
  • 600W RMS and 1000W peak amplification
  • 13-inch high-excursion speaker driver
  • Beryllium inverted dome tweeter
  • Composite "W" sandwich cone
  • Focus Mode converts loudspeaker into a one-way full-range monitor
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 02:57 pm GMT

You’re already paying professional prices, so why not get a professional sub? The Focal Professional ST6 Sub12 is a 12-inch subwoofer intended for studio referencing in audio post-production. However, you can easily use this in your setup to get the absolute best bass response money can buy.

The ST6 Sub12 is priced even higher than the DN15. However, there is no arguing Focal’s track record when it comes to audio quality. Focal’s studio monitors have been the subject of envy in many recording studios. You can get that same level of quality in your home theater, right now.

SVS PB-3000

Better Control at a Better Price
SVS PB-3000 13-Inch Ported Subwoofer
$1,599.00
  • 13-inch high-excursion SVS driver
  • Sledge STA-800D2 amp
  • 800 watts RMS and 2500+ watts peak
  • Frequency response 16Hz-260Hz ±3dB
  • SVS dual port cabinet
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03/11/2024 06:07 pm GMT

SVS’s PB-3000 is one of the most compelling alternatives to the DN15. You’ve got plenty of control over the sound, as well as some earth-shattering bass response. This is all from a unit that is far smaller, at least in comparison to the Definitive Technology Descend DN15.

Controlling the frequency response is a breeze, thanks to the SVS smartphone app. You’ve got a three-band parametric equalizer, phase adjustment, and automatic volume control for your room. You’re getting better control from a sub that retails for $200 less than the DN15.

KEF KF92 Twin

Room-Friendly Subwoofer
KEF KF92 Twin 9-Inch 1000 Watt Powered Subwoofer
$1,759.99
  • Two huge 9-inch drivers
  • Five room configurable EQ settings
  • Frequency response is 11Hz - 200Hz
  • RCA and speaker-level inputs
  • Max output 110dB
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03/11/2024 06:11 pm GMT

KEF is always ready to impress when it comes to home audio. The KF92 Twin is no exception, bringing 1000 watts of power at peak usage. Compared to the DN15, this sub reaches down much lower, hitting 11Hz for the frequency response. You might not be able to hear that. You will feel it, however.

This is a great sub, with a proven track record. However, much like the DN15, it would be nice to see balanced inputs for the sub itself. The Focal ST6 comes with balanced XLR inputs and outputs, you’re stuck with RCA for the KF92, sadly.

Closing Thoughts

So, should you avoid a Definitive Technology Descend DN15? If you have a space carved out for a sub that size, and you’ve already budgeted for it, then it is a fantastic choice. However, if you’re in the market for a high-end subwoofer, there are some compelling alternatives with better performance as a whole.

Best Alternatives to the Definitive Technology Descend DN15

1. Focal Professional ST6 Sub12
2. SVS PB-3000
3. KEF KF92 Twin
  1. Focal Professional ST6 Sub12 Professional Subwoofer
    $2,999.00
    • 600W RMS and 1000W peak amplification
    • 13-inch high-excursion speaker driver
    • Beryllium inverted dome tweeter
    • Composite "W" sandwich cone
    • Focus Mode converts loudspeaker into a one-way full-range monitor
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 02:57 pm GMT
  2. SVS PB-3000 13-Inch Ported Subwoofer
    $1,599.00
    • 13-inch high-excursion SVS driver
    • Sledge STA-800D2 amp
    • 800 watts RMS and 2500+ watts peak
    • Frequency response 16Hz-260Hz ±3dB
    • SVS dual port cabinet
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 06:07 pm GMT
  3. KEF KF92 Twin 9-Inch 1000 Watt Powered Subwoofer
    $1,759.99
    • Two huge 9-inch drivers
    • Five room configurable EQ settings
    • Frequency response is 11Hz - 200Hz
    • RCA and speaker-level inputs
    • Max output 110dB
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the DN15 have an EQ?

It has EQ presets, but you can’t freely adjust the sound on your own.

Is the DN15 meant only for surround sound?

No, you can use the DN15 for surround sound and music.

Does the DN15 need an amplifier for power?

No, the DN15 has its own power supply.

Can you adjust the phase response of the DN15?

Yes, but it is only in 45-degree increments.

Can the DN15 be used inside of a cabinet?

If you have more than two inches of clearance on all sides compared to the dimensions of the DN15, it should fit in a cabinet.

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