Bag End InfraSub-18 Pro, PMM-8 Monitors Review

Jun 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Joe Hannigan



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From longtime speaker manufacturer Bag End comes a new package designed for a variety of mixing, mastering and reference applications: the InfraSub-18 PRO and PMM-8 powered monitors. Designed to work as an integrated, self-powered turnkey system, this combination of workhorse speakers offers a host of useful features with loads of solid power and crisp detail.

All of Bag End’s monitors use Ed Long’s Time Align principles of design.

All of Bag End’s monitors use Ed Long’s Time Align principles of design.

The InfraSub-18 PRO is the big brother to the original InfraSub-12, which I reviewed in Mix May 2004, and subsequently purchased. The InfraSub-18 PRO has all of the same basic features of the InfraSub-12; it’s a self-powered sub with an 18-inch cone loudspeaker in a sealed enclosure, using the same preamp and power amp as the InfraSub-12 PRO (500 watts), with an extended operating frequency down to 8 Hz. The amplifier also includes a built-in INFRA dual integrator providing a flat response down to 8 Hz, well below the audible range of human hearing. In many cases, one feels it as much as hears it. Like its smaller sib, the InfraSub-18 PRO is a seamless, smooth performer, with power to spare for the lowest part of the listening spectrum.

Included with the unit is the Status monitor, a handy visual cue device—connected via its own XLR cable to the back of the cabinet—to show “on” status, as well as dynamic filter threshold, should you push it hard enough. (Again, there’s power to spare; I rarely drove my test unit beyond the green “on” status indicator.)

Designed to work as the bedrock for a 2.1 or 5.1 system, the InfraSub-18 features a “passthrough” automatic crossover/LFE feed to connect from a console to the upper PMM8 speakers. Simply connect L and R, or LRC, Ls/Rs cables to the rear XLR male connectors, and then connect another set of XLRs out to the PMM8s (or other powered speakers of your choice).

Level for the InfraSub-18 is set via two rotary pots on the rear, and a variety of other useful functions (polarity, -10dB attenuation, etc.) are also provided.

The PMM-8s are the crown jewels of the system, featuring a single coaxial driver with separate 8-inch mid and 1.75-inch aluminum-compression HF drivers, passively crossing over at 2.9 kHz. This self-powered (rated at 150W nominal, 600W peak), time-aligned unit has XLR inputs (from the InfraSub-18 or directly from a console output with similar connectors) and a dedicated Neutrik Speakon AC power connector. (A very smart precaution; there’s never a possibility of plugging the wrong cable into the wrong socket!)

Additional features include front panel rocker switches for power, polarity reverse (brilliant idea!) and a 3-position EQ level switch for near-field/final (brightest, for listening to finished material from a distance), NFM™/Original (least-bright setting; no boost or attenuation of the material) and MFM™/Final and Distant/Original (medium brightness/middle setting). The subtle but important 1.5dB shift in HF levels hinge at 5 kHz make a clear difference, depending on your sitting position, work habits and overall speaker placement. There’s a tuned oval port on the bottom front of the cabinet, normally hidden by the detachable (and all but sonically transparent) black grille cloth. The PMM-8s roll off fairly quickly below 100 Hz, which mates very nicely with either the InfraSub-12 or -18.

All of Bag End’s monitors use Ed Long’s Time Align principles of design, which include physically lining up the drivers and adjusting driver and crossover delays. When a system is aligned, the fundamental and overtone timing is the same at the listening position as they are at the input of the monitor.

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