Subwoofer Reviews

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 26, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $429

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Most affordable Sonos subwoofer
Compact, attractive
Controlled, restrained bass response
Minus
No Trueplay for Android
Fixed crossover
Only useable in the Sonos ecosystem

THE VERDICT
The Sonos Sub Mini is a great way (albeit, one of only two ways) to add deep bass to a Sonos soundbar or speaker in a small listening room. Considering that Sonos is a closed system, the Sub Mini only works with Sonos products, and Sonos products will only work with Sonos subwoofers. While not exactly a budget item, it's the most affordable subwoofer in the Sonos ecosystem.

What is the number one complaint about almost every soundbar? Let’s say it together: lack of deep bass. Even soundbars as sonically competent as the Sonos Beam and Ray could benefit from more. So here comes the Sonos Sub Mini (MSRP $429), a compact subwoofer that perfectly bonds with all of the non-portable, amplified Sonos products. It should be noted that while the Sub Mini will work with the larger Arc soundbar, Sonos recommends using that configuration only in a smaller room and at low-to-moderate listening levels. Fair enough.

David Vaughn  |  May 18, 2022  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Deep bass response with extremely high output
Impeccable build quality
THX Dominus Certification
Minus
No built-in parametric EQ or room correction
No control app or handset

THE VERDICT
The performance of M&K Sound’s THX Dominus Certified X15+ is over the top. Highly recommended if you demand bass that can go extremely deep and loud even in the largest of rooms.

Let me state from the outset that I'm a fan of M&K Sound speakers. I have owned an M&K S-150 surround system for the past 18-plus years and have zero desire to change it out anytime soon. The first time I auditioned it in a Magnolia Hi-Fi store back in 2002 made me an instant admirer of the brand, and it took me two years of saving up to be able to afford a full 7.1 speaker package. I fully bought into M&K's—and THX's—principle that using a subwoofer/satellite configuration to separate and optimize the reproduction of low frequencies improves midrange purity and accuracy.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 11, 2022  |  0 comments

R5t Tower
Performance
Build Quality
Value

D15s Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $7,000/pair (R5t tower), $5,000 (D15s subwoofer)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clean, uncolored sound (R5t)
Surprisingly powerful bass (R5t)
Excellent build quality (R5t)
Stunningly dynamic performance (D15s)
Excellent build quality (D15s)
Minus
Pricey (both)
Not the best option for very large rooms (R5t)

THE VERDICT
Perlisten Audio's R5t towers and D15s subwoofer offer stunning performance and good looks, but in this case the great sound and build quality will cost you.

Even the most veteran A/V enthusiast is unlikely to have heard of Perlisten (short for Perceptual Listening) Audio, but that situation should soon change. Founded by a group of audio industry veterans, the company was formally launched in 2021. For a new speaker outfit, the number of Perlisten models is astonishingly long and encompasses towers, standmounts, center and surround speakers, in-walls, and subwoofers, all of them engineered in the U.S. and manufactured in China.

Daniel Kumin  |  Apr 20, 2022  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Reference-level extension and output
Exceptionally flat, controlled response through crossover octaves
THX Ultra Certified
Minus
No auto-EQ/correction or remote control
Very big and heavy
No pass-through outputs

THE VERDICT
Monolith by Monoprice's 13THX is huge, heavy, and lacks the convenience of app-controlled on-board automated EQ and curve-selection. But if you have more-than-generous space and budget, it's all the subwoofer you or anyone else will ever need.

Got bass? I do. Boy, do I ever: Monolith by Monoprice's newest THX Ultra Certified 13-inch behemoth. You might think that a "13-inch" sub would be just a bit bigger than a typical 12-inch job, maybe 15 or 16 inches wide, and perhaps as heavy as 70 or 80 pounds. Think again.

David Vaughn  |  Feb 16, 2022  |  1 comments
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Powerful output
Intelligent Phase Control allows for precise alignment with main speakers
Useful remote control
Minus
Large size makes optimal placement difficult
No custom EQ options

THE VERDICT
Definitive Technology flagship subwoofer delivers extended bass and impressive output, but lacks the app-based custom EQ controls found on many other models.

Watching a movie at home is one of the things I always look forward to when coming back off the road from a long business trip. My home theater has evolved over the years from a modest 5.1-channel setup with a rear-projection TV into a system I never dreamed I'd attain: a JVC RS2000 4K projector, 110-inch Stewart FireHawk scope screen, and a full Dolby Atmos speaker system brought to life by a Trinnov Altitude 16 processor and ATI N-Core amps. I truly am living the home theater dream.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 26, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Deep bass from a compact design
DSP and app control
Minus
Control app not user-friendly
Unreliable Auto On/Off function
No wireless connection option

THE VERDICT
OSD Audio’s powerhouse Trevoce 12 delivers deep bass from a compact cube. And with onboard DSP and app-based control, users can tune the sub’s output for best performance in their listening space.

OSD Audio is a maker of many audio-related things, its extensive product line covering most bases for custom residential and commercial installations. But the company also has a fair number of consumer offerings, including a sizeable range of subwoofers. Last year I reviewed its Nero TubeBass 10, a cylinder-shaped model that provided a decent wallop of bass given its compact size and $179 price. Now, for this review I'm stepping up to the Trevoce 12 EQ DSP, a flagship subwoofer from the company's swanky Black Series that still tops out at a reasonable $600. (OSD Audio also plans to launch a 15-inch model in the near future with a $799 price.)

Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 30, 2021  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Highly compact form factor
Notable extension and output for size
Excellent control app
Minus
No auto-EQ/correction

THE VERDICT
The first micro model from sub specialist SVS features the company's well-regarded control app, and it delivers all the bass most people will need while not taking up much space.

Once upon a time, there were three bears, with three subwoofers. You probably can guess how this story ends.

Designing a subwoofer is simple: big box, big driver, powerful amplifier. You wind up with something the size of a small refrigerator, but it does the job. Designing a good miniature subwoofer is a bigger engineering challenge, but the recipe is also fairly well known: small box, very powerful amplifier, small drivers with lots and lots of excursion, or throw.

David Vaughn  |  May 19, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE SB-1000 Pro: $499.99 (Black Ash), $599.99 (Piano Gloss Black/White); PB-1000 Pro: $599.99 (Black Ash)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
ig, deep bass from a small box
Best-in-class control app
45-day in-home trial period
Minus
No auto-calibration/room correction
Best suited for smaller rooms

THE VERDICT
SVS outdoes itself again by offering a pair of budget-friendly subwoofers controlled by the company’s best-in-class app.

Innovative technologies tend to debut in more expensive goods so that companies can recoup their research and development costs. Take Mercedes, for example. When new tech gets introduced, the company does not debut it in its A or C class of cars, but instead reserves it for its S class to entice buyers to "trade up" to the more expensive—and likely more profitable—model.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 28, 2021  |  1 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value
Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,296

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp detail and open-sounding midrange
Immersive 5.1 performance
Stylish and affordable
Minus
Cl center speaker has limited off-axis response

THE VERDICT
The name Sonus faber conjures up visions of exotic speakers priced at a level that will buy you a reasonably nice house in some places. But a full 5.1 package from the company's new Lumina line will cost you less than a modest patio upgrade.

Loudspeaker manufacturer Sonus faber was founded in the early 1980s by the late Franco Serblin in Vicenza, Italy. It's been known since then for offering superb sound with classic Italian attention to style, with products aimed at buyers for whom price was at most a secondary consideration. But in recent years the company has tested more affordable waters, particularly in its home theater offerings, with the latest addition to its lineup, the Lumina Collection, designed to appeal to a wider range of listeners with real-world budgets.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 14, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $179

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Inexpensive
Compact form factor
Good extension and output
Minus
Limited features
No wireless option

THE VERDICT
There’s nothing fancy about OSD Audio’s Nero TubeBass 10, but if you’re looking to get decent bass performance in smaller-size room without a paying a premium, it’s well worth a listen.

As someone who appreciates the benefit deep bass brings to music and movie soundtracks, I've come to accept that having a box the size of a small refrigerator in my living room is a reality of life I need to contend with. That box, of course, is a subwoofer, and welcoming one into your space is the deal you must strike in order to get deep bass. Some cleverly engineered models use innovative DSP-driven solutions, along with serious amplifier power, to coax extended bass from compact boxes— certain subs we've reviewed from JL Audio and KEF come to mind. And while such models definitely make a better fit with non-mancave-like interior spaces, you'll pay handsomely for the tech wizardry that brings about the bass miniaturization.

Daniel Kumin  |  Feb 24, 2021  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Incredible extension from incredibly small design
Highly flexible controls and features
Wireless option
Elegant finish
Minus
Limited peak output
Pricey

THE VERDICT
KEF’s KC62 delivers impressively deep bass in an elegant, ultra-compact package, though its output is best suited for smaller rooms or listening at more moderate levels.

Mankind has sought to get more and deeper bass from smaller and smaller designs ever since the first Neolithic audiophile blew through a conch shell and thought, "Damn, I wish this went lower, louder!"

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 10, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $749 (Black Matte or White)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive kick from a slim, elegant cabinet
Refined sound
Extensive control via smartphone app
Minus
No remote control
No auto-calibration/room EQ feature

THE VERDICT
Designed to work with or without Bluesound’s Pulse soundbar, the new Pulse Sub+ is a bigger and better take on the company’s original Pulse subwoofer.

What's the one thing lacking in even the best soundbar? If you said "deep, realistic, room-filling, floor-pounding bass," then you are absolutely correct. Bluesound is known for its wireless multiroom audio components and speakers, a family that includes the Pulse soundbar.

Al Griffin  |  Feb 03, 2021  |  0 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $3,000 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clean, well-balanced sound
Consistent off-axis performance
Subwoofer control app with Auto-EQ
Excellent value
Minus
Basic looks; black-only finish option

THE VERDICT
Despite its low-key exterior, Elac’s 5.1 Uni-Fi 2.0 system delivers the goods for movies/music and represents an excellent value.

Germany's Elac is a brand that has greatly expanded its presence in the hi-fi and home theater worlds over the past five or so years. While the company itself has been around for considerably longer, back in 2015 it brought on former KEF, Infinity, TAD, and Pioneer chief speaker engineer Andrew Jones to develop new product lines. First out of the gate for Jones was the Debut Series, followed by the Uni-Fi series, both affordable lines designed to pull fresh recruits into the audiophile ranks. New speakers arrived in quick succession, including the upscale but still affordable Adante passive and Navis powered models.

Al Griffin  |  Oct 28, 2020  |  0 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value
Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $8,360 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great overall sound with movies and music
Integrated Atmos Elevation speakers
Impressive clarity from center speaker
Minus
Pricey sub with limited features
Boxy design for Focal speakers

THE VERDICT
Focal's 5.1.4 Chora system delivers impressive performance for the price and is equally adept at movies and music.

Some may see France's Focal as a maker of $100,000-plus speakers and $4,000 headphones. But while the company does maintain a high profile in the high-end through products like its Utopia towers, the reality is that Focal makes speakers—and headphones—that cover a wide range of price points. It's been nearly ten years since Sound & Vision reviewed a full-scale Focal home theater speaker system—a $25,000 rig with beryllium tweeters. This time out we're looking at the company's affordable new Chora series, a lineup that notably includes speakers with upfiring drivers to handle Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio formats.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 22, 2020  |  7 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value
Subwoofer
Performance
Build Quality
Features
Value
PRICE $20,500 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Superb overall performance
Impeccable fit and finish
Relatively compact
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It may be pricey, but this PerformaBe system offers sublime performance with both music and movies.

I've reviewed many Revel surround speaker packages over time, but it's been six years since my last Revel review, a system centered on the Performa F208 tower speaker. At around 13 grand, that system could still be considered an affordable option compared with a full surround package built around the company's flagship Ultima range. Now, with its PerformaBe line, Revel has a mid-price speaker offering to help bridge the gap.

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