The REL T9x Limited Edition RED Subwoofer Review.

This REL T9x Limited Edition RED Review. Much more than Boom.

By Steve Huff

In over 35 years of creating audio systems for my personal enjoyment I have almost always avoided using subwoofers. I spoke of this before but up until a year or two ago I never really heard a truly fantastic subwoofer for two channel music. One that could blend with my speakers and provide the foundation that they may or may not lack. I feel a subwoofer should blend seamlessly with the main speakers so they sound “as one”. Yes, this is the goal but believe me when I say that not all subs can manage this feat.

My Video Review of the REL T9/x Limited Edition 

I admit that in the years past when I did try a subwoofer for my two channel music listening I used to always cheap out on the sub, looking for the $300-$700 models. That was my problem Bec cause most subwoofers priced in this range are designed for movies, explosions and to create loud boomy bass.

Those lower cost models are fine for movies and for those who seek “the boom” but they are not for those with a refined HiFi system looking to enhance the foundation of the music as well as the spatial qualities of the music. I remember owning a $799 subwoofer model from a long standing audio company. It excelled at a one note chuffing kind of bass and sounded disjointed from the main speakers and the music.

So yea, I used to hate subs due to the one note “Boom” I so often heard from them with stereo music playback.

For my room, this T9/X Red sounds fantastic right in the center between my two main speakers. 

That all changed when I heard and eventually purchased the REL S/510 subwoofer (my review here), and then ended up with two of them! Even though my room is a small 13X18 sized space those two S/510’s were all out beasts in here, and in all reality they really were a bit  too much for the space.

Even turned down to their 2nd lowest volume setting they not only allowed me to feel the bass but also0 to experience the extra dimensionality they brought to the music.

The new limited edition REL T9/X is GORGEOUS and IMPROVED vs the standard T9/X. Look how gorgeous it looks in place in my room. 

Those S/510’s did their most heavy lifting when I paired them with a set of Focal Diablos’s which were very light on the bass output. Those S/510’s really melded with those speakers so well and made them sound closer to the Focal flagships. The way they pressurized the room was remarkable and the bass was deep, right and surreal at times. Quite the opposite from those old one note boomers I had memories of.

When I changed my system from bass light speakers (Focal Diablo and Fleetwood Deville)  to those that can reach down to 30hz all on their own (Daniel Hertz Amber) I removed the two big S/510 subs to make some space and clean up the room a bit. Honestly, with those two large S/510 powerhouse subs the system was looking a bit crowded in my smaller space and I knew they would look and sound even better in a larger room. That was not in the cards though as a large room means moving to a new house and thats not happening with todays interest rates. Since I was now getting low bass from my main speakers I figured I did not need the subs anymore, and took them out.

After removing the subs I noticed a bit less of that solidity to the sound, those lowest bone rattling notes and the richness of the music that was indeed enhanced with these two subs in place. Even so, the bass I was getting from just the speakers was more than adequate, at least that is what I kept telling myself. I also noticed a little less of that effortless room filling sound without the subs installed but as the days went on, my ears adjusted to the sound without the S/510’s in place.

The entire package just screams beauty and quality

Seven Coats of Racing Red

Just recently REL sent me their brand new for November 2023 limited edition Racing Red T9X which also has a new look to not only the paint job but the main front 10″ driver as well. When it arrived I was almost drooling (I filmed the opening in this video) as the looks and style was on another level, and IMO, even better than the S/510.

This SRB (Sexy Red Box) was easily the most gorgeous subwoofer I have ever laid my eyes on. Its quality and attention to detail was so far above most subs in this price range that I knew I was going to enjoy this one.

It took me a couple days to hook it up (been crazy busy) but when I did, using the high level connections to my Daniel Hertz Maria, I found it was so easy to setup and blend with my larger Amber tower speakers. Within 10 minutes I had the sub set up and boy oh boy, what a music machine this is. This is one heck of a musical sub my friends and blending with my main speakers was very simple to do here. Maybe it was due to my experience setting up the S/510’s but dialing in this T9/X was so simple and much easier. The reality is that it was probably due to the fact that this subwoofer is much more size appropriate to my room. A better fit so to speak.

Made for two channel music this subwoofer provides the deep low bass your speakers lack (even if you think you do not need a sub) and this marvel can also can fill in some of the mid bass for a richer sound. All depends on what you want but I found setting it up for a perfect blend with my speakers was just what I needed, even though I didn’t realize it.

I figured I would not need subs for this system, and in reality I do not “need” one but do I “WANT” that extra extension or the extra dimensions that seem to open up when this sub is on? That is the question. 

Yes indeed, when the little hot rod Red T9/X is on in my system the already large sound grows larger. The excellent way the system renders spatial cues is expanded and everything just seems a bit more effortless when this beauty is in the system. The sound from this sub is tight, full, plump, fast, deep and at the end of the day this little guy shocked me with the way it reproduces bass with such class and composure.

Bass is so much more than BOOM. 

There is actually no boom here at all. This is not a sub that will pound out a muffled big sloppy bass note. Rather, this sub has the refinement and character of a well engineered and designed piece of high end audio gear. All while coming it at $1,650 USD. I am just not used to seeing quality like this at this price point, though it does happen sometimes. I am listening right now to a special recording of John Denver’s “Annie Song”. Not a bass track AT ALL!! With the REL on, the sound is fuller, richer and just more inviting. Even when the sub is just mildly filling in the bass it creates a larger, warmer and more fulfilling experience. This is why I paced the sub in the center after trying every placement from the corners in the front, the corners in the back, next to each speaker, etc. In the center the bass seems to just meld together with the speakers and nothing sticks out. With subs and two channel music, it’s all about the blend, NOT the BOOM. If I was setting this up for movies it would be in a corner as this will produce more bass and impact. With music, I just want a blend that when on seems to expand the bass capacity of my main speakers. I want the sub to disappear just as the speakers do. Center placement, for me in this room, achieves this perfectly.

Check out Annies Song ON THIS Album/CD/Stream. It’s a rerecording and beautiful. 

While not as deep or subsonic as the S/510, the T9/X is actually a much better subwoofer for my room, wether I would be using one or two though the best bet would be two T7x’s, which is what REL recommends here. Even so, one sole T9/x really has plenty of power and grunt for my space, and goes deeper than the 7’s which use a smaller 8″ driver. Maybe one day I will try a pair of 7’s but I am really enjoying the 9X and the red color just puts a smile on my face when I see it in the room. While I place most importance on sound, build and reliability I also place some weight on style, design and looks. It has to sound fantastic and look great as well.

For testing a sub or speakers, check out this track from Depeche Mode:

The live version of “Welcome to my World” on the bands “Live in Berlin” album has some of the deepest strongest well done bass I have heard in a track. With the sub on, the beginning notes should be FELT. They should not be sloppy but deep, deep, deep and tight. You should be able to sense the pressurizing of their room happening as you hear the keyboards and audience cheers grow louder. The bass on this track in the first minute or so is mind blowing and if you hear the bass here as it was supposed to be heard, you will know it immediately. Without a sub, many speakers will just render this song in a normal way. When you can go down to the depths, be prepared for an experience! 


Yes. If I were buying a new subwoofer today, this would be the one I would snag, ASAP. Maybe a pair of T7x’s but then again, they do not come in red nor have the improvements of this red 9X. The 9x is the perfect subwoofer size for this room and it showed me that bigger is not always better as it all depends on room size. Sometimes smaller works as good or even better. Sometimes larger works better. 

The Red T/9X is a limited edition, so it will not be on offer forever. This edition also has an improvement up its sleeve, in sound and looks, vs the standard T9/X. The bass driver here is enhanced with a Carbon Fibre center cap. According to REL this optimizes rigidity and reduces the moving mass of its 10” (250mm) driver resulting in improved performance. I have not heard the standard T9/X but can state that this sub here delivers the goods, and in my room it is just about perfect. 

The price of this sub comes in at only $1650 which surprised me as well! After living with it for a few days I assumed it would come run at around $2k. I get to see a ton of gear since I am a reviewer. If you are on the fence here, I can tell you from my heart to yours that this price is so right here. It’s well worth it if RED is your thing. Sure, you can buy subs all day long for $399 on Amazon. I will warn you though, anytime I heard those kind of subs (and I have heard a few) they always disappoint in the build and the output. The bass is usually of the sloppy variety, not very tuneful and makes a boom but that’s about it. They are also very tough to blend with your main speakers because they are slower, not fast enough to keep up. REL makes subs that are fast as lightning as well as tuneful, tight and much lower in bass output. It’s due to the design and engineering going on. They are quality subwoofers.


I will say it again.

The style, design, looks and performance of this small 10″ driver sub is so worth the $1650 here in late 2023. This is one that will bring pride of ownership as well as uniqueness. In some ways I like this sub better than the S/510 mostly due. to the design, color and the fact that it is a much better size sub for my room. In a larger room the S/510 would be a better fit but if you are in a small or medium sized room the T/9X is a winner for bring better bass to your system. 

I would even suggest if you have been wanting to buy new speakers for more bass, you can add this sub to what you have now and it may be all you have been looking for. Why spend more when you can just add something like the T7/X to your existing system and have all of the bass you desire?

The Paint Job

With SEVEN LAYERS of Italian Racing Red Lacquer you can see the quality of the paint job here. Much like a fine exotic automobile, this Red paint job really stands out and looks quite mesmerizing. It looks like something you would find in a $100k+ system. Even the top REL name badge is stunning…

“The badge atop takes three days to perfect, and each foot undergoes a three-day chroming process. We meticulously layer copper, nickel, and chrome, allowing each coat a day to set before adding the next. This is the attention to detail that makes REL stand out.”

With the T9/X you will be getting 300 WPC of Class A/B power, a high level input with included high level cable, low level input and even a LEF input. There are controls for each volume and crossover so you can dial it in with your own speakers.

With my Daniel Hertz Ambers I settled on the volume about 5 clicks up from zero and the crossover set to around 60-80hz. The resulting sound is jaw dropping. It’s hard to believe what this small sub did for my already excellent sounding $26k retail system. It was already very special without the T9/X but WITH it in and powered up?  Even more special and more magic poured into the room from the system, like it was now a fine tuned oiled up machine. It is hard to describe what I hear here but there is more solidity, more oomph, a larger stage and an even richer deeper sound. It’s just such a great addition.


For me, REL subs are just another level of good compared to others I have heard. The closest I have heard to REL is SVS but for me the REL has more charm, a nicer style, better attention to details and just a drop dead gorgeous musicality for listening to high quality two channel music. It’s my sub of choice as of late 2023 for music, without question or hesitation. Really this goes for any REL made today. Mostly all of the REL’s I have seen are built for music first. 

This limited edition REL T9/X is a truly wonderful product that can and will improve the sound of almost any audio system as long as your room is sized right for this size of sub. Of course you can get better for a larger room, as that S/510 is legendary as far as I am concerned. For my room though, this little red beauty is just about as good as it gets for setting up (easy) and listening. If you have a small room you can even find smaller subs from REL that will fill your space. Check out the T7/X and T5/X. 

If you seek more depth, more low end, more solidity, even nicer spatial renderings along with a completeness to your system, check out REL subs, If you have a room like me (13X18) or slightly larger or smaller I can say that this sub will melt your heart and make you smile every time you listen.

Remember when dialing it in, you do not want to go for “boom” or mass amounts of bass, You are just wanting to hear what is on the recording, how it should sound. This is not a one note boomy sub, rather it is very complex in the way it renders musical notes with a tightness and solidity that can punch you in the gut when turned up.

I did not think this sub would do much for my reference system but I was quite wrong, In fact, I might just purchase this sub to reside full time in the system as it is just a perfect match and I love everything about it. I am thinking about it and at this price point it is almost a no brainer if you love the RED color.

While the Red sticks out a bit in my room but I actually have grown to appreciate the contrast. It pops, and it makes a statement just sitting there when not in use. When on the refinement and performance are as good as you would expect from REL. I love this subwoofer!!! 


Beauty of the design makes this one of the sexiest most striking subs I have seen in the flesh.

It’s fast, it’s tight and it has plenty of power to deliver room shaking bass if desired.

Was super easy to set up and tune to my system, blending it perfectly with the main speakers

Ships with the REL High Level cable, all 33 feet of it.

I heard no noise or buzzing from the sub when in my system

Attention to detail brings a high pride of ownership

Supremely refined musical sub without any boom or chuffing

Will add dimension, solidity and a completeness to your music and system.

Comes with a nice solid grille as well

300 Watts Class A/B amp

Can transform a system. Try this before upgrading speakers!

Priced very fairly at $1650


Doesn’t have the standby switch of the S/510 that turns the sub off when it senses there is no signal coming in

If you have a very large room you may need two of these, or to step up to a larger REL

A remote control would be awesome and make these even easier to set up right from your listening seat.

UPDATE 11/21/2023 – I’ve been listening to this sub since this review and it seems to have improved after 100 hours or so. Even smoother and now with some added punch. This sub though excels at being musical and simply disappearing. It’s more about filling on those frequencies that are missing in many speakers, and doing so seamlessly.

UPDATE 11/25/23 – The sub is still in and I have found I prefer it set pretty low in volume. I have the crossover set to around 60hz with the volume just a few ticks up. Sitting in the center is still the best place for it in my room, besting off to the side or behind one speaker. The way it blends is seamless, making the sub invisible in sound. This sub can also go deeper than I thought and can easily bring the depth you can feel and sense. A stunning sub for the cost. It has also gotten compliments in looks from many family members who stopped by for the holidays. They all loved the RED and the contrast it provides in my room.

You can read more about (or order) this new LIMITED EDITION REL T9/X HERE. Get it fast as when they sell out, they will be gone. 


  1. Steve, great review for what looks to be a really nice subwoofer. I’m in the market for a new sub but the lack of a standby switch is a huge omission IMO. My 15 year old Klipsch has that; it should be considered a basic feature.

  2. Steve, love your write up and YouTube reviews!

    Is the T/9x Red connected using the REL supplied Speakon and factory power cables? Did you have a chance to compare after markets cables…wondering if one can expect an even better performance improvement. Also, I’m surprised to hear crossover was set to 60hz considering your main speakers go down to 30hz.

    • Thanks. The RED REL is still in the system though I have moved the sub all over the place. Front, back, other side of room, etc. It now sits in a corner again. I also settled on the crossover to about 50hz, Going over what your speakers can do is always a good idea as most speakers state specs that the speaker can go down to, but they do not go that low at the volume you want. Going above the 28 or so the speakers go down to ensures all will blend well. I wouldn’t go higher as then the sub will start filling in the lower mids which is not the goal. I use the high level cable with the REL as supplied and have tried a generic power cable and my ultimate cables. Also an Earth cable from Kinki. Never heard a difference in the sub with different cables. All brought the same performance.

  3. Hi Steve!

    My question actually isn’t about the Rel, but the acoustic panels you have hanging on your front wall on either side of the big window. My room also has a big window in the front wall with what looks to be about the same width of wall space between the window and the wall corners and I was just wondering how you like those panels and who makes them. Thanks in advance!

    • I honestly can’t say they did much art all for sound. My room, as is, when blinds are down to the floor has zero issues. Best room I have had in life for sound quality. I placed those panels in the front and back and there may have been a slight difference but not so sure. They are on Amazon but will have to find the link. What made the difference in this room for me was the rug, blankets, furniture, etc. Not so sure I could recommend the panels I have.

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