I purchased this sub a couple of weeks ago at Circuit City on a one-day half-price promotion. The sale price was $99. I purchased a very similar Polk Audio subwoofer one or two years ago on Black Friday for the same price.
Recommend this product?
As other reviewers have accurately described, 50 watts and a 10-inch driver are not going to be able to reproduce movie soundtrack effects adequately in anything but a modestly sized room. But it should be underscored that for many people, this subwoofer might be perfect for home theater use. If you are not an audiophile or have been using some other very compact subwoofer in an entry-level home theater, this will likely still be a substantial upgrade. If your room is small, then you will probably get all the rumble you could want. Movie soundtracks, such as the armored truck falling through the street and landing in a subway tunnel in The Italian Job, require a subwoofer that can move a tremendous amount of air for you to feel the thud when the truck lands, so in larger rooms, this sub will fall short.
For music, this subwoofer is fantastic. I use the speaker-level inputs to connect this subwoofer into a whole-house audio system. Since each room has its own impedance matching volume control, the only way to get the subs volume to attenuate along with the speakers is to connect the sub in line with the speakers. This subwoofer is not terribly large, so it fits nicely into many types of rooms, and I use it to complement the BIC America VI-38 in-wall 3-way speakers that I use in most rooms of my whole-house audio system.
When not connected to a digital receiver (where the receiver decides what sounds should go to the subwoofer), setting the crossover frequency is quite important. If you set it too high, the subwoofer will produce redundant frequency ranges to the main left and right speakers. If that occurs, bass becomes boomy, and there is a noticeable unevenness, since the overlapping frequency range gets hammered quite a bit louder than higher or lower frequency ranges. When the crossover frequency is properly set to complement the main speakers, the effect should be completely transparent full-range sound, such that if you close your eyes and listen, you would not detect which sound is emanating from the mains and which sounds are coming from the subwoofer.
In my application, this subwoofer works very well for even a large room. I have this subwoofer stashed under my desk in my home office, and I have a very similar Polk Audio subwoofer (that I bought last year at half price, too) in my homes living room (which is not the home theater room). I mostly use the whole-house audio equipment for background music, but I will occasionally crank the volume, and the subwoofer responds admirably. At no time, even in the large living room, have I ever wished I had a larger or more powerful subwoofer.
At $150 to $200, I would still recommend this subwoofer as a solid performer for the price and size, but if you can score one of these for $99, then it becomes a spectacular deal (albeit a deal that I have only seen come around one day per year).
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Amount Paid (US$): 99