The Maestro is not shielded. Because the woofer is in the bottom of the cabinet, it is usually a pretty long way from a picture tube. Generally, the Maestro will need to be about 12-18" from the TV.
Yes, you can get full-range, fully-integrated sound out of almost any system with a Titan. And yes, it can often sound better than the single large full-range. You can place the sub where the bass response will be the best, this is almost never where the main speakers sound best. With careful setup, you can even reduce the effects of room standing waves and resonances. All domestic spaces have peaks in the midbass, often in the 60-80Hz range. By reducing the overlap between the sub and the mains, this room peak can be greatly tamed. The result is far tighter and tuneful bass with full power down below 20. Having the extreme lows does more than add bass power and reach, it often adds an improved sense of ambiance and hall "size". This is especially true of live recordings.
There are still some holdouts from the days when subs were considered evil:) They've just never heard a great sub, properly integrated.
And no, positive traits of your current speakers will not be diminished, they will be enhanced. Our subwoofer philosophy is "first do no harm"
Placing the Maestro near your main speakers is the easiest way to get a good blend. The ideal placement is often in a corner behind the main speakers. Corner placement provides the highest output level with the lowest distortion from the subwoofer. Placing the Maestro close to a wall will also increase bass output. However, the Maestro can be placed anywhere in the room.
Finding the optimum placement may require some experimentation. Instead of moving a heavy subwoofer around the room to find the best response there is a simple trick you can use. Place the subwoofer where you normally sit to listen. While playing either test tones or music with a steady bass, walk around the room and listen for the deepest, tightest and smoothest bass response. Move the sub to the place you hear the best bass.
The Owner's manual has more information about placement options.
Two words: quality and musicality. For example, the amplifier is U.S. built to very high standards. It is a fully discrete, full bandwidth amplifier with torroidal transformer. It is light years beyond the usual "amp on a chip" designs used by almost all subwoofer builders. It is also phenomenally reliable. This is something you should consider when some competitors subs have very high failure rates. Also, compare warranties . . . again, some competitors only offer 2 or 3 year warranties! No competitor matches our Total Assurance Guarantee (TAG)
The Maestro simply sounds more like real music than most of it's competition. There are those who think all subs sound alike, some just louder and lower than others. Not true. We, and Maestro owners know there is a wealth of detail in the low bass that may not be heard on many subs. Also, the integration to the mains is extremely critical and the Maestro does this exceptionally well. Telling tests are acoustic and electric bass lines as well as concert piano. Many subs can shake the house with an explosion, but sound muddy and "wrong" on these musical tests. The Maestro can do both. Meant to please for the long-haul. Backed by the best warranty in the business. You get to try it in your home!
I am considering the Maestro in architectural black or
maybe black oak. Is there any sonic advantage to adding the hardwood side
The sonic difference between with and without panels is slight. The basic MDF inner cabinet is very strong and well braced. Adding the hardwood panels further stiffens and quiets the cabinet. The improvement in detail and clarity is only noticeable in a really good system by people who listen for the ultimate detail in the bass. Not everyone can hear the difference
All three subs sound very much the same. The difference is a matter of output
capability. The Titan, with it's larger enclosure and woofer will cleanly
play a bit more than 3db louder than the smaller Force. The Force is great, but
I advise the higher output Titan if the rest of your system is up to it and
space and funds permit. The Force does an honest 20Hz, it just doesn’t have
quite the dynamic reserve as the Titan. However, a second Force can always be
added, which would provide 3db more output than a single Titan.
The most common comparisons are with the highly regarded REL subs. Particularly the REL Stadium III ($2995). Detailed comparison.
In a recent review, the reviewer sold his $4000 SVS B4+ sub and amp and replaced with the Maestro.
There are definite advantages to
stereo bass beyond the increased output capacity. A pair of Maestros offer more flexibility and higher output levels than a
single Maestro. In a high-resolution stereo system, stereo subs provide that
last bit of realism in the bass range. How much of an improvement depends on the
crossover frequency to the mains. The higher the crossover frequency, the bigger
the improvement. A single, high performance sub is great, a pair of high
performance subs is better. Those
who try stereo subs rarely go back!
Amp shuts down:
Amplifier appears "dead"
Remove cover, verify that personality card is installed correctly and firmly