Subwoofer Reviews

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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  |  0 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
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.

Michael Trei  |  Jun 17, 2020  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $899 (piano gloss black), $799 (black ash)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Big bass punch from a small form factor
Excellent value
Versatile smartphone control app
Minus
No auto-calibration/room EQ feature

THE VERDICT
The new SB-2000 Pro delivers big punch for a reasonable price, with tremendous fine-tuning capability offered by its smartphone control app.

With 12 different subwoofers in its line, I'm pretty certain that SVS makes more models than any other subwoofer manufacturer. In providing so many options, not only does the company cover a wide range of price points, but they can also offer subwoofers matched to different use cases, from high-end audiophile setups to big, slamming home theater rigs.

Michael Trei  |  Apr 15, 2020  |  4 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $8,000 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Refined sound
Powerful, feature-rich subwoofer
Minus
Tweeter on 60XTi tower sits high off the ground
60XTi tower requires careful placement

THE VERDICT
Upgrades in style and performance take MartinLogan's Motion series speakers to the next level, while its Dynamo 1600X subwoofer is a feature-packed beast.

Ask a car guy to identify any classic American car from the 1950s or 1960s, and most would be able to pin it down to the exact year of production. Back then, the auto companies would change up styling every year, even if the mechanical stuff under the sheet metal remained essentially unchanged. The problem with that approach is that tooling up to build new models every year gets really expensive, so these days most cars have a life cycle of a few years before an all-new generation is introduced. To keep these longer-lasting designs looking fresh, at some point in the life cycle they'll give the car what's known as a facelift, replacing a few key parts like the grille, taillights, and trim to lend it a new look.

Al Griffin  |  Mar 18, 2020  |  4 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,975 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp, detailed sound
High-performance center speaker
Subwoofer with room correction
Minus
Subwoofer pricey compared with competition

THE VERDICT
Monitor Audio's revamped mid-range Silver system brings notable improvements with no notable increase in price.

In 2020 many of us will get to witness the summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan—on TV at least. Why do I mention that in the first line of a speaker review? Because, like the medals handed out to Olympian champs, speaker lines from Monitor Audio tend to come with names

David Vaughn  |  Mar 11, 2020  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Powerful output for a compact model
Onboard Digital Automatic Room Optimization
Dual-sub setup option
Minus
Lacks below-20Hz extension
Gloss black finish attracts dust

THE VERDICT
The f110v2 lacks the output and extension of a larger sub, but packs quite a punch given its modest size.

According to Merriam-Webster, a fathom is a unit of length equal to six feet that's used to measure the depth of water. But for JL Audio, Fathom is a family of subwoofers that dig deep into the lower depths of the audio spectrum. The company, which has been around north of forty years, was started by Jim Birch and Lucio Proni, who started building loudspeakers during their summer break back in the 1970s and never stopped.

SV Staff  |  Feb 26, 2020  |  0 comments
Ready to up the ante on your AV investment and take your theater or music setup to the next level? Trade that puny boom box for a subwoofer built to deliver deep, palpable bass that reminds you you’re alive and tricks you into thinking for a moment you’re circling the track in a Shelby Cobra while watching Ford v Ferrari? The editors of Sound & Vision have singled out five outstanding yet reasonably priced subwoofers you must consider if your answer is “yes.” All made our coveted 2019 Top Picks of the Year list and are presented here in ascending price order.
Daniel Kumin  |  Dec 04, 2019  |  1 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,546 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Balanced sound with effortless treble
Solid bass extension
Impressive performance from compact subwoofer
Minus
Center speaker can sound slightly chesty when listening off-axis

THE VERDICT
DALI joins the pantheon of excellent compact, affordable 5.1 speaker packages with this system based around the overachieving Oberon 1.

Over the past 25 years, the Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries company has grown from a small and relatively obscure maker (in the U.S. market, at least) to a much more major player in the world's crowded loudspeaker arena. The Danes' latest move toward the broader marketplace is the Oberon series, an affordable range consisting of two towers, two bookshelf/standmount models, one on-wall, and one center- channel—all two-way, vented- enclosure designs.

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