Face Off: Sub-$1,000 Subwoofers Cerwin-Vega CVT-300S

Cerwin-Vega CVT-300S
Now I'll introduce each of the participants (in alphabetical order). The Cerwin-Vega CVT-300S features a single 15-inch woofer in a bass-reflex (ported) enclosure. Having the smallest footprint in the group, the CVT-300S offers a conventional enclosure with an unusual and unique ergonomic design. The enclosure maintains a rectangular, upright profile, with a side-firing woofer and a large rear-firing port. The woofer is video-shielded to allow placement near a monitor. The sub is powered by a discrete, internal 300-watt amplifier and features high- and low-level ins/outs, variable gain control, and variable crossover (40 to 120 hertz) to make adaptation to any system painless. There's no way to disable the crossover, so make sure you can turn off the crossover in your processor. The sub does have a high-pass filter (40 to 80 Hz), a bass boost of 3 decibels, and a 0- to 180-degree phase switch.

The build quality of the CVT-300S isn't exactly what I'd call cheap, but it is about what you should expect for a sub in the $700 price range. The cabinet is constructed of MDF and covered in a black oak veneer. The enclosure is light for a 15-inch active subwoofer; however, because the cabinet is internally braced, it feels solid.

The unusual design of the CVT-300S offers more flexibility than one might expect at first glance. Due to the side-firing woofer and rear-firing port, the CVT-300S can be "loaded" into a corner on both frequency planes. Utilizing this application, you could achieve up to a 9-dB gain in SPL before even attempting to adjust the bass boost.

Cerwin-Vega CVT-300S:
• Small footprint
• Flexible design
• Large 15-inch woofer for a small price

HT Labs Measures: Cerwin-Vega CVT-300S

This graph shows the quasi-anechoic (employing close-miking) frequency response of the CVT-300S subwoofer. Response of the subwoofer, normalized to the average level from 40 hertz to 80 Hz, indicates that the lower - 3dB point is at 30 Hz and the - 6dB point is at 27 Hz. The upper - 3dB point is at 110 Hz.— AJ

Testing System
Lexicon MC-1 pre/pro, Atlantic Technology System 370 THX speaker system, Parasound HCA-1205A amplifier, and Sony DVP-C650D DVD player