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1,665 of 1,703 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polk PSW-10: Great, with some reservations
I purchased this subwoofer about 2 months ago and since then have given it an extensive listening test. Following is a list of things I would do to improve sound quality as well as some reservations I have toward it.

Before I start off, I would like to clarify one thing about the PSW-10 that might unjustly turn off potential buyers from it: it runs at 50 watts...
Published on February 3, 2006 by Ref Stanton

versus
245 of 327 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boom Boom Rumble Boom
First, a bit of credentials, as this is my first review here.
I have many years of experience in good sound. Back in the day, I built and used Dynaco tube power amps from kits, and have owned Marantz, Mac and Crown amps as well. I had Tandberg cassette decks (anyone remember audio cassettes?), and Technics turntables. For speakers I've used Klipsch, JBL, Tannoy,...
Published on October 21, 2008 by D. VanDude


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1,665 of 1,703 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polk PSW-10: Great, with some reservations, February 3, 2006
By 
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
I purchased this subwoofer about 2 months ago and since then have given it an extensive listening test. Following is a list of things I would do to improve sound quality as well as some reservations I have toward it.

Before I start off, I would like to clarify one thing about the PSW-10 that might unjustly turn off potential buyers from it: it runs at 50 watts RMS. In the world of music and sound systems, one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that wattage directly correlates with how loud a speaker is. THIS IS NOT NECCESARILY TRUE! The efficiency of the driver determines how loud it gets at a certain wattage, not only the amount of power you're pumping into it! This is why you can buy, for example, computer speakers that boast 400watts of power and have them easily massacred in terms of volume by speaker set ups with half the power (for further examples, compare computer speaker systems to shelf systems to a true sound system. You will find the volume, at a given wattage, tends to increase as you go down the spectrum).

I found the PSW-10 easily competed in terms of volume with every other sub in it's range, including those running at twice to three times the power RMS. If you want to prove it to yourself, run down to your local Circuit City (who sells Polk subs) and sound test it yourself.

Now, onto the guts of the review.

1. As far as entry subwoofers come, this is probably the best bang for your buck that you can find bar none, especially considering the quality of the build. Built around high quality medium density fiberboard and using a highly efficient 10" driver, the PSW-10 manages to bang as well, if not louder, than other subwoofers in this category, despite running at 50 watts RMS.

2. The sound quality is excellent, with very little distortion at high volumes above 50 hz or so, with full excursion easily being reached because of the ported design. In the 40hz - 50hz range, the polk begins to show the limitations of an entry level sub, the sound becoming slightly more muddied (though not horribly so) with extended length sounds(ie. a hellicopter landing slowly) while still staying crisp for burst noise (ie. a gunshot or bassdrum). Below the 40hz, it's pretty much non-functional as a subwoofer. I should also stress that no entry subwoofer has any redeeming qualities below 40hz.

3. Music is where this subwoofer really shines! It's bass is perfect for every genre of music (my tastes tend to be a bit ecclectic and as such I tested it with Classical, Hip Hop, Electronica, Rock, and Jazz) you can throw at it. I was most impressed when playing The Chieftans "Ballad of the Irish Horse" album and could have sworn the drums were playing in the room (a testament to the quality of polk's design). Deep bass is 99.9% of the time is limited to above 50hz, right in the sweet spot of the polk, and as such, the bass lines in every Rap song I tried (the extreme being Wolfpak - Gangsta Rap and Kanye West - Golddigger) was quite impressive, accurate and crisp. When playing the 1812 Overature, the cannons were well produced, if very slightly muddied (as it is one of the few songs that ventures below 50hz) but overall very good. I was very impressed with the sound quality of the polk in music.

4. That being said, this subwoofer is ideal for music and will be disappointing for those who wish to use it for movie watching. While it is beneficial to add it to any non-subwoofer setup, the 10" driver struggles to hit the low lows with the sound becoming muddied with deep, deep bass of any length. I found this to be a problem with all entry subwoofers I've tried, not just the polk, so take this with a grain of salt.

Overall, this subwoofer is probably the best entry subwoofer you can get bar none.

TIPS FOR MAKING IT SOUND BETTER!!!

1. First thing of note: Like all quality entry level subwoofers, great sound comes with the sacrifice of volume. This sub works best in smaller rooms, say 20x10 maximum. Any larger and the sound will begin to get lost in the room and sound strained.

2. Most subwoofers work the best along the front wall of your sound system, in the corner. This however is not a cardinal rule. To find the best location for the subwoofer (this works for any sub for your information), place the subwoofer where you would normally be sitting, listening to it. Play a song and walk around the room until you find place where the bass sounds the best. Move the sub to that location and it should be ideally placed!

3. One shortcoming about the Polk is the lack of an LFE input: you only get RCA and speaker line inputs meaning that there is no way you can bypass the internal crossover of the sub. Considering the market it's aiming for, this shouldn't be too big of a problem for most people, but owners with good receivers might be a bit vexed by this. Also, do not hookup the sub through the speaker line: it'll lose a fair amount of sound quality from forcing the bass through small gauge wires. Hook it up through the RCA if at all possible and you will be greatly rewarded.

In summation, despite the reservations inherent of the entry level subwoofer class (and LFE port), this is an excellent subwoofer which warrants all the praise it's been getting.
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329 of 364 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound, May 15, 2009
By 
Frank J. Perricone (People's Republic of Vermont) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
I'm using this with an Onkyo TR-606 alongside a Toshiba 62" DLP HDTV and a full set of Polk speakers, and the sound quality is remarkable.

The only caveat is that the subwoofer input has two connectors, but you really only need to connect one of them. The manual is far from clear about this, and plenty of people will probably spend extra on a Y cable, or worse yet, put in an adapter which will add both cost and loss of fidelity. But just connecting to the left input works fine. Subwoofers are mono anyway, and the double inputs are primarily there to make certain wiring configurations easier, not to add more sound fidelity.
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317 of 352 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polk Audio PSW10 Powered Subwoofer, June 1, 2007
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
While I was looking for sub-woofer I was comparing PSW10 and PSW404. PSW404 sounds better but for the price $110 vs. $250 at J&R I opted for PSW10. The sale representative dropped the price for me even though they still selling PSW10 for $200 here. Those of you who worry about no LFE input, that shouldn't be a problem. All you have to do is connect the sub-woofer output of the receiver to either the right or left input on the sub-woofer. And then set the variable low pass filter on the sub-woofer to the highest setting. This will set the internal low pass filter above the low pass filter frequency given by your receiver and create an LFE input. Or you may use a RCA cable to provide a connection to both inputs on the sub-woofer from the LR pre-out from the receiver. Then adjust the cross over frequency from the woofer as desired. It sounds a little louder and better for me. I bought Monster sub-woofer cable and it sounds no better than RCA cable. Try not to waste your money on this. It has 7.4 out of 10 in CNet rating and it is #6 in editor's top list for sub-woofers. I matched PSW10 with R300, RTi4, R150, CSi3 and Denon 1906 receiver. Mainly used for HDTV over the air, DVD movies and some FM. It sounds a lot better than the sub-woofer from RM6750. It carries 5 years warranty but make sure you buy from Authorize dealer. For the price I paid I am more than happy with it. I hope this helps to your decision.
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82 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At sensible volume levels, it's perfect for music & movies, July 20, 2010
By 
3rdGen (Southern California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
I am an older guy who has been listening to music for more than 40 years. At my age, there is no need to try to impress anyone with how loud my stereo can go. And I am wise enough to know that I don't need to spend $500+ on a subwoofer. I now listen to music at low to moderate volume levels which I have learned to feel comfortable with. Even when watching movies in surround mode, I don't feel the need to generate seismic activity. To get to the point, for most of us, this Polk PSW10 is plenty loud enough for home theater as well as music. The bass goes very low. And as long as you don't crank the volume way up on the subwoofer itself, it's not boomey. Besides, you should never need to max-out the volume on the sub-woofer. Just take the time to read the instructions and take some time to calibrate the settings on your receiver/amp as well as the subwoofer. The instructions tell you to set your front (main) speakers on the "small" setting (if you have a surround receiver or amp). After a short while you will find the sweet spot and you should seldom need to touch the volume control on the subwoofer. The only con I can think of is that this unit has a large footprint and it takes up a good chunk of space. And if you feel that you need to impress your friends & neighbors with the loudness of your subwoofer, the PSW10 might disappoint you. But, if you simply want a good-sounding subwoofer to compliment your bookshelf speakers or satellites, the Polk PSW10 will fit the bill nicely. It really makes the music (and movies) sound more alive and full. I gave it 5 stars based on the build quality, sound, and the value received. I got mine (brand spankin' new)for $88.00 at a store called Fry's. Now THAT's a bargain.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Bass for little $$$, October 17, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
OBJECTIVE:
- To revive a decades old stereo system with the least amount of money
- Take the bass load off the smaller speakers so they could express better mids and highs
- Lessen the power load on the receiver by adding a powered subwoofer
- Add more plucky, clean, musical bass rather than boom and vibration

I could not justify spending a lot of money on my audio hobby right now. An expensive sub, or one made for home theatre that's meant to vibrate the house, was not in my plans. The more I read about this little sub, the more I felt it was worth $100. Now, if you forgo the cherry veneer version of the Polk PSW10, you save about $40. With super-saving shipping and tax, I paid $108 through Amazon. With another $50 in new speaker wire and banana plugs and pins, I basically built a new speaker system.

Once I got the unit unpacked, I wired it up and started experimenting with the placement, volume, and low pass in order to make it work seamlessly with the main speakers. [Note on wiring: my receiver has no sub outputs so I had to wire everything through the sub's crossover using Monster QuickLock MKII Gold Flex Pin Connectors For Easy Self Crimping Terminations - 2 pr. It was easy enough. Use a run of speaker wire from your amp to the sub, and then another run from the sub to the main speakers].

Some reviewers complained of booming muddy bass from this unit. I experienced this at first, so I moved the sub around the room in different positions and at different sub volume settings. Every room, amp, and set of speakers brings a bunch of variables to positioning, so take a few hours to work out the kinks. My particular listening room is very small (10' x 10') and anything above the 4th increment on the sub's volume just destroys the music. That being said, CD's and downloaded music also vary in quality and mixing. I recommend placing the sub in such a way that you can always access the back panel to make adjustments.

CONCLUSION: So far, I definitely think I got more than my money's worth. If you have small speakers, an old system, or you just want to add a little zip to your musical experience, I say this is a great place to start. I can hear new dimensions on my CDs, and the main speakers sound much more spacious and clear.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a $300.00 Sub in below $90.00 price range clothing . Not sure how or why but I'm enjoying it ., December 15, 2014
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This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
This is one of the most Detailed subs I have heard . I use it as a Home Studio Sub with a monitor controller and 2 M-Audio BX5a studio monitors . It is crossed over at 80hz and below and my monitors are crossed over at 80hz and above . I just heard my friends Klipsch 12" sub and it sounds boomy compared to this Polk sub . I knew the 10" would be the perfect size to go with my 5.25" monitors and a 10" sub is usually very tight sounding compared to larger subs but big enough to get down to 40hz and below . I bought this sub expecting to have a little bit of boominess but overall good sound because of all the awesome reviews and I had a Polk DX Sub in my car once and it sounded excellent . But back to my point , I have watched movies on this Sub and it gets on down there , I have sound treatment in my room and I have bass traps because it is a studio . But my room is about 15x30x15x30 , it is a bit of an L shaped room and the side I use the sub in to mix is about 15x15 and this sub is raised up on a platform built out of wood and topped with a sound deadening pad at about 4ft high . I used it on the floor also just to test it out . Down on the floor with the sub facing you I would say it drops down well into the 30hz and below range . I lifted it up for a tighter sound at ear level with my monitors . But I will say this as a last point . This sub sounds as good or better than some studio subs that cost well in the $300.00 range and it has plenty of punch for a 30x15 room so don't let the 50 watts fool you , it sounds so tight and defined that I almost don't believe that it is sold for this price . I worked for a Home and Car electronics store for about 3 years and I will tell you . No BS ! This is one of the best sound quality subwoofer units I have heard , comparative to subs we sold at 4 and $500.00 bucks back 8 years ago . I believe any audiophile that can hear and has the experience I do with sound will tell you . If you are in this price range this is the best sub in this and higher price ranges . When they built it they done an exceptional job . This is a long review but this Sub and Polk deserve to be a bestseller on Amazon . All I can say is Wow ! With my mouth hanging open when I am playing the 808 drum , or hear a detailed explosion on a movie . This sub does not lose it's precise sound when playing kick drums , toms and bass guitar riffs all together . You can hear the separation of the notes . No mud at all , unless you gap the volume too loud or fire the sub into a corner which I do not suggest . Turn it up a bit past half way and adjust your sub pre out on your reciever and hear it sing . It's unbelievable at this price point and I can't get enough of this sub .
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polk Audio PSW10 Subwoofer, April 6, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
I have to admit that I was one of those people that read about 200 hundred reviews before I decided on the PSW10.

I am glad I did, it sounds really nice... good depth and nice pop/boom for the money (and I would pay a lot more for this knowing what I know now). Now I have an enclosed media room with no windows and the sound is brilliant. If you looking for a cheap sub, you got one here that is worth it. All these people are really being honest.

Maybe this helps, maybe not, but if I took the time to write a review... I REALLY LIKED IT!!!!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lets get real, May 9, 2011
Purchased the PSW10 a year & half ago. Impressed then, and remain the same today.
Spent 24 years of my life professionally installing audio systems.
Without getting into may technical ramifications, no one should ever critique this sub.
Looking for value & overall quality? For the price, nothing on the market will come even close.
In the audio business, you sell by letting the product sell itself.
Polk created a simple, quality built, solid all around speaker for this amazing price.
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245 of 327 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boom Boom Rumble Boom, October 21, 2008
By 
D. VanDude (Woodstock, NY - USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
First, a bit of credentials, as this is my first review here.
I have many years of experience in good sound. Back in the day, I built and used Dynaco tube power amps from kits, and have owned Marantz, Mac and Crown amps as well. I had Tandberg cassette decks (anyone remember audio cassettes?), and Technics turntables. For speakers I've used Klipsch, JBL, Tannoy, Polk, Yamaha, and the insanely expensive - and worth every penny - Magneplanars from Magnepan. So, except for the Magnepan's, not quite audiophile, but really good home sound.

So, why would I buy a hundred dollar subwoofer from Amazon you ask?
I was looking for something inexpensive to give some bottom to the M-Audio powered speakers in my computer room, and I have seen and heard some new Polk speakers that sounded good, each in their respective price range.
Mostly, I bought this subwoofer based on the positive reviews on Amazon.

Sorry to say, I must disagree with the majority for this one.
I tried tuning it, I tried many different room placements, I tried various expensive subwoofer rca cables.
Sadly, I must report that I was unable to get any musical output from it - ever. I wasn't expecting audiophile here, just the ability to hear bass notes when they are playing. No-way, no-how.
I give it 2 stars for it's well made box, and the fact that it gives lots of rumble and (sloppy) boom, - and maybe that's enough for some.
But I have an almost 10 year old Yamaha sub (pre rca inputs, around the same power and same speaker size) that I brought into the room as an A/B test. The old Yamaha outperformed this new Polk by far.

After all of the positive reviews, I'm wondering if maybe the one I got was defective, but there is no way to get inside it for testing without voiding the return policy.
So...I returned it.
Good luck!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review your Room acoustics and needs., March 9, 2011
By 
Larry Wolford (Washington State) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) (Electronics)
I have been in HI-Fidelty stereo since it's inception, and am a retired Physicist. There is a relationship ( with many variables ) in reviewing a subwoofer. Room size/volume,listening distance, wave theory, and those host of "placement" issues. I have found this subwoofer to be XLNT in a small to medium sized room for acoustical music. It has niether the cone size or power to produce an F-16 flyby in a large room; nor should anyone "in the know" expect it to. But in an assisted living apt.(me), it picks up the "wood" in the musical arrangements of Jazz and Classical. Setting in close helps all bass subwoofers, as reflected sound in larger rooms is an acoustical nightmare.It takes 10 times the power to produce a doubling in sound pressure(db). So if you have a large room, look for large RMS power ratings and especially large cone sizes. Manufacturers are always implying their 8" is as good as a 12" . But the db ratings and laws of physics do not support this in any way. This PSW 10 is a great bargain, but not a "bass monster." Enjoy !
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Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)
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