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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
After reading much about these Energy subs and needing a tight low end for my Martin Logan Motion 12's for stereo listening of music I decided to give two of these a try. I own a Klipsch front firing 12 inch sub for my home theater system but it never performed all that well for music as far as tight, articulated reproduction was concerned. I had hoped the Energy ESW-M8 NA's might do the trick and when a lightening deal struck and the price dropped I took the plunge and had my Dad do the same so we could get two.

If you don't like reading long reviews and want the bottom line, here it is:
This sub is EXTREMELY musical! Give it some time to break in and make SURE you have it set up properly with your polarity and crossover set correctly so the sub is firing along with your other speakers and not stepping on frequencies your other speakers already handle. Once you take some care and time with this thing you will be rewarded with EXCELLENT,tight,articulate and MUSICAL sounding bass. If your tastes lean more towards the BOOM BOOM BOOM variety, then get yourself a BIC 12 inch front firing or discontinued Klipsch but if accurate musical reproduction is what you crave, look no further than this Energy 9 inch cube!

Build quality is very good. The gloss finish MIGHT reflect off your TV screen and you may wish to consider that when placing the sub. They are a bit larger and a bit heavier than I was expecting and they just FEEL solid and well made. They look great as well! As far as the power rating goes, that 1200 Watt figure is PEAK music power and I believe the actual RMS rating is 300 watts.

These Energy subs have plenty of power to supplement any reasonable stereo setup. I have mine next to my Martin Logan's on each side , leaving enough room for the passive radiators to radiate and connected to my stereo sub outputs of a Harmon Kardon amp. The effect is pretty seamless with the Energy's basically just becoming part of the Martin Logan arrays on each side. I have NOT broken them in yet and know the sound will tighten up over the next 30-40 hours but my initial tests show they can handle all the frequencies needed to reproduce the music I listen to.

I was surprised at how powerful these amps actually are. I ended up having to turn them down twice and finally ended up with the volume at around 9:45 to balance with my other speakers. It's nice to have some extra power for those peaks and attack transients and I doubt I will ever hear any distortion from these things as I do not listen at insane levels. By adjusting the the phase slightly (by listening, adjusting, listening again, adjusting, etc.) and finding the exact frequency roll-off to seamlessly integrate with the Motion 12's I could basically get the subs to function as an extension of my main stereo speakers and you really can't tell where the Martin Logan's leave off and the Energy's begin.

I am a geezer and listen to a lot of British Invasion music (among other genres) and as an example the walking bass line during "Got to get You Into my Life" by The Beatles is usually problematic with many subs, with the last 2 or 3 notes disappearing or revealing the fact you are using a sub to cover those frequencies. Not so with these Energy's. With a bit of trial and error I was able to use that recording (the 24 bit USB version) to create a seamless extension all the way down the scale so the notes sounded like McCartney was just playing them directly thru the tube console. I can not hear where the Marin Logan's leave off and the subs begin. THIS IS A GOOD THING! I then further dialed in the balance and crossovers using the SACD of Toto IV which I know like the back of my hand. After a bit of fiddling I dialed in a REALLY GOOD sound overall and things are only going to get better as the speakers complete their burn-in period. (which might necessitate a few tweaks here and there)

Basically, If you are obsessive over your sound you have all the tools to tweak these things to your hearts content. If you just want to plug and play they will work for that as well, although with lesser results overall. Personally I wouldn't want to use these for film soundtrack repro although they WOULD work for it, just nothing all that dramatic sounding in regards to subsonics. For a bedroom installation they would be GREAT for any purpose. For my personal needs they are well suited to handle the low end of my stereo system and I am 100% happy with them with ZERO buyers remorse so far.

A word on unpacking:
Due to the exposed passive radiators on two sides plus the speaker on the front you must exercise care when removing the sub from the box. Honestly there is no good way to grab hold of this thing without risking putting your finger thru one of the paper cones so I recommend opening the top of the box, then turning it upside down and easing it out. Once out of the box (the power cord is under the bottom piece of Styrofoam) the sub is covered in an outer layer of sheet foam with an inner covering of T-shirt like material. They are very well protected as long as you don't put your hand thru the driver or radiator.

The Energy ESW-M8 NA's are a great buy at the $300 or under price point. The List Price is obliviously inflated, much like the list prices of Invicta watches. The sound quality is really good, the warranty is VERY good and they are small and easily placed. Unless you have unlimited money, these subs are all you need for most music and smaller home theater installations. If you buy TWO you will have full coverage and power to spare. If you are a music lover and know good sound when you hear it, these Energy subs will help you get there! Seriously!

Totally Recommended!
UPDATE 11-30-12: After 20 hours of medium volume break-in with numerous musical generes I tried cranking Foreigner 4 from my 24 bit HD Tracks FLAC files and it rocked. I now find that around 100-110 is the best place for my crossovers with Motion 12's. I get smooth transitioning to the subs with no noticeable gaps. Just good solid articulated bass and kick drum and drum rolls using low toms have plenty of WHOMP!!! to them. I will post again after another 20 hours of use.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2012
Verified Purchase
I was searching for a subwoofer that was small and could blend with the audio of a pair of Mackie 100-watt studio monitors. The Mackie has an 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. They are connected to Roland's USB AudioCapture interface which is linked to my computer. The Mackie has a big full sound and while its frequency response is rate down to 40Hz, its -3db roll-off hinders the slam factor with low-end bass.

I purchased the M8 because its size was perfect for my music studio room. It's the exact same speaker as the highly regarded Mirage MM-8, both made by Klipsch, but at a much lower price. The Energy ESW-M8 is a solidly constructed 9" cube weighing about 17 lbs. It has a single active 8-inch woofer at its front, covered by a black grill and 2, 8-inch passive radiators, one on each side of the cube. A high gloss piano lacquer black finish tops the speaker box off and small rubber feet on its bottom.

The rated power for the M8 is 300-watts RMS Class-D amplifier with a frequency response of 36Hz-200Hz. A low-pass filter control allows one to adjust the frequency crossover point for a seamless transition between subwoofer and main speakers.

The phase control allows for matching the woofer's dynamic movements with the main speakers for proper musical timing and of course, the volume control manages bass audio levels. RCA jacks for stereo inputs or a single bass line in; and a wireless port input connector next to the speaker's on/off switch.

After a 72-hour break-in period (which is absolutely mandatory for decent sound), the Energy ESW-M8 blended perfectly with the Mackie speakers. The M-8 has a natural low-end extension that compliments a stereo system rather than overwhelming it. The bass sound was full and well controlled.

What surprised me most was how well the M8 can articulate the bass lines. It's not vague sounding at all and because of that, I needed to place the subwoofer near the main speakers to hear a fully integrated sound. If one wanted to place a subwoofer on another wall away from the main speakers, the M8 may not integrate as well and exploring bottom-firing subwoofers with port ducts might be the way to go. That type of subwoofer tends to have less directional sound. Audioengine S8 comes to mind for that type of design.

A good test CD for the Energy ESW-M8 was John Mayer's "Continuum." Most of the tracks have superb bass guitar lines and it helped me to adjust the M8's control settings. The setting that best matched the Mackie speakers in a 14'x14' room was having the crossover set @ 100Hz, phase @ +20 and volume @ 70% of max.

On the track, "Vultures," you know you nailed the subwoofer's adjustment when that fat bass guitar sounds true. Playing K.T. Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," you literally lose yourself into the driving kick drum, and Paul McCartney's bass never sounded better playing "Come Together" on the M8.

However, as good as the M8 sounded with the studio monitors, I did compare it to my audiophile system in the big family room which has a $900 Monitor Audio subwoofer with an active 10-inch front firing woofer and 10-inch bottom-firing passive radiator being powered by a 200-watt Class A/AB amplifier. The two subwoofers are worlds apart when comparing their depth, breadth and sheer volume of sound. But the M8 competes very well with the bigger subwoofer for its ability to articulate the bass lines with smaller volume.

While the mini subwoofer design does have its limitations, the Energy ESW-M8 proves to be a superb performer with a small room stereo system -- and that sounds fine to me.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
Verified Purchase
I'll start by stating I've used many high end subs (Velodyne, Sunfire, Earthquake, etc.) over the past 15 years and most have been $600+. I picked up a Energy ESW-M6 last year for my bedroom stereo listening. For the size, this sub is good but really doesnt go low enough for me. I came acroos this deal on Amazon for the M8 (for basically the same I paid for the M6) and decided to see what it could do since according to the Energy specs, the M8 can go a bit lower in freq = 36 vs. 42. I will mention I do have a space factor which limits the size of my sub. I can say that this M8 is great for a bedroom or small living room and I would definately recomend it. Just don't expect the couch to start shaking but it does sound great for music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Verified Purchase
Sub shakes my entire great room. I know it's not the earth shattering that can come from a 12" but it is amazing!!! I was worried about the size and it not putting out enough bass but it is perfect. Anymore and it would be annoying. Also when you go to set up the optimal speaker setting make sure the volume on the bass box is set to low then turn it up afterwards.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
Verified Purchase
I just plugged this little guy in and am amazed. Very musical, powerful, and tight!

I had to crank up the volume and output, but the tiny size allows me to position it in the perfect spot.

Compared to ported subs I have tried, this one is superior music wise... The others sounded booming and muddy and this one sounds clear and tight.

Debating on getting a second one...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Verified Purchase
On first glance I was sure that the speaker in the little box that arrived could not possibly provide bass of any substance. Looks can be deceiving. I am impressed and it's not yet broken in. Using it in a medium sized studio with a pair of M-Audio BX5 speakers (with no sub out - so I split the output from my audioengine D1) and they work well together. Set the crossover of the sub to about 100Hz and response is smooth. With the amount of power put out by the M8, it could fill a much larger room. Excellent value!

One important note: I was not looking for an earthquake-inducing sound. I wanted something that would adequately boost the bass without rattling the equipment. The M8 met these expectations better than expected. They are very CLEAN and precise. Look elsewhere if you want to annoy the neighbors.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews, I don't have that kind of time as I run several small businesses. So here goes...

1) Buy this thing.
2) I'm buying a 2nd.
3) Well worth current $300 price tag.

That is all :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
Verified Purchase
I purchased this sub to fill a gap in my soundstage that I thought my home theater was missing, and it is exactly what I was looking for. I am running a Denon AVR1912 with Boston Acoustics wall mount speakers, and I love them, but as with any wall speaker the low end is lacking. I have them paired to a Definitive 12in subwoofer. My Definitive sub can handle all the low and rumbling that is needed for movies, but when it comes to music I felt I was missing something between the upper range of the sub and the lower range of my wall speakers. My wall speakers say they respond down to 90hz, and the old sub up to 120hz, so spec wise the range should have been complete but a 3 in driver can not provide any punch even if it says it responds to 90hz. The Energy ESW-M8 was on of the only subs that I could find that had a crossover that went up to 200hz, and it can be complacently bypassed, allowing you to control everything with you receiver. The sub is tiny, but sounds fantastic. The tighter rubber on the speakers does make this a great musical sub,and after letting this break in it really does have good punch. I even find myself turning off my old sub and just using this one. This little sub really was what I was looking for.

If you are looking to add some punch to a system for moderate level music listening with part-time theater duty, this is a great sub. For a dedicated home theater you will probably want something bigger, and if size is still and issue, I would look at definitive Supercubes. They are awesome and expensive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2012
Verified Purchase
I bought this to replace a different one in my rv. I recently upgraded my surround system, and apparently needed to upgrade the subwoofer as well. Let me just say it sounds awesome. This sounds way better than the cheap subwoofer that came standard in the rv. Im not an audiophile so i never realized there could be such a difference in quality. I would definitely buy again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2012
Verified Purchase
For its size, this sub is amazing! It won't rattle your fou dation, but it delivers tight bass for music and movies. Matches my Mirage speakers perfectly. I would love to get one more just for kicks.

I found for best performance you'll probably need to turn the gain to slightly past half way unless you are in a small room. I keep mine set at about 2 o'clock on the dial and it fills my 15x20 (oddly shaped room) nicely. I let my receiver manage the crossover filter, etc.

Great buy especially for the money!
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