For the past 10 years I have owned a Sony Home Theater in a Box kind of setup sufficing to say I'm not much hard to please for home entertainment (had a quick review bout here too @ Epinions). Three years ago I paired the same Sony HTIB with a 37" LG LCD TV and it was good. Can see the movie, "hear" the movie and go watch the next movie.
Recommend this product?
Guess now things have changed, a lot. Electronics are much more affordable with a considerable amount of difference. Like this Sony SA-W3000 for example. As a regular Joe Shmoe audiophile wannabe dude, I did my only way of randomly testing this sub, of course, at your local electronics depot (blue shirt, khaki pants guys). It wasn't even very accurate the fact that I tested it's lower model sibling, the SA-W2500 which is rated 100 with 60 watts RMS.
Most of us are familiar with their setup with all the buttons you push pairing different speakers and subs trying to win your heart on what they can do. So push I did and I got me a show from all them big ballers like Polk, Mirage, Definitive Techs, Klipsch to a Martin Logan, and the little dude on the corner, with the lowest price tag, being scorned upon, even lucky to be on such a line up actually held its own. Not as tight, not as solid, but enough oomph and rumble. Maybe its the rumble, maybe it's my untrained ears but for the value price point of this sub, it feels like I would not go wrong a step up difference of $50.00 to it's bigger brother, the Sony SA-W3000 which is rated 180 watts.
And wow was I impressed! Let me reiterate the Joe Shmoe wannabe part once again! I like what I hear though and for the most part, I really believe a lot of people might agree. Took me a good day or two to fine tune to my liking for music and movie alike. To appreciate the bass, I had to torture test it from Bad English to Bob Marley with even some Beyonce' (hehe). Musicality is not it's greatest strength as it would have variations of bass output on different genres of music but totally acceptable for the most part. I sometimes have to turn the gain switch a bit lower from music to movies. For Home Theater applications, I finally get to "feel" the movie, not just hear it. I would play back certain movies over and over on certain parts just to appreciate the bass, like the movie's Heat, Matrix, Jurassic Park and the all classic Top Gun to few of my own personal favorites.
Aesthically nice with a very imposing 12" subwoofer with thick, hefty rubber surround on the edges giving it a solid look. A nice black wood grain/veneer finish on the cabinet, which also is constructed pretty good. Got a couple of adjustments for volume and cutoff for the personal choice of your low end and even a phase reverse switch to configure with how your sub reacts with your front speakers. I find the "normal" position having a tighter bass response with my SS-F7000's and the SS-CN5000. There is also a switchable power save mode which wasn't really too "click" happy as others have noted for it to be bothersome. For me anyway.
Couple of gripes I have is the plastic part where the built in amplifier is hidden. Looks flimsy but tougher than it looks. The rubber pads that came with it is a joke. You would look at the size of this 12" sub with the rubber pad being about the size of a Micro SD card. It's almost like it was some sort of an after thought to include them. This is where Sony went cheap. Good thing I have saved some screw in type legs that belongs to the TV stand. Little drilling in under corner of the sub, a bit of super glue and voila! Form, fit and function.
This Sony SA-W3000 floats my boat and fills the bill for an awesome budget sub for your system. You'll actually get a chance to enjoy the difference of having a dedicated subwoofer even just on an entry level system with a not so entry level bass box thanks to Sony. It does give sound more depth and an impression that will change how you listen and feel about your movies and music. And as Thomas Paine might have quoted, "that which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly", but this my friends, in my own humble opinion, is an exception.
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