Customer Reviews: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)
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Price:$229.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on January 16, 2012
For the longest time I was trying to decide between the PSW10 and the PSW505. The PSW505, on sale, was about twice as much as the PSW10 and offered much better specifications, both on paper and in real world testing.

What I always debated, though, was if I really needed the oomph of the PSW505 and if I did, would I also be willing to live with the larger size. Like always, I let my frugal side win and opted for the PSW10. Once it arrived, I swapped out my old Logitech Z2300 subwoofer (which, in all honesty, wasn't that bad to begin with) and began to listen.

Instantly, I was disappointed. The port noise under 40hz was absolutely terrible at medium to high volumes. I always thought that since the frequency range cut off fairly high, port noise wouldn't be a problem, but boy, was I wrong. Anytime whatever was playing dipped under 40hz, I was met with farting, burping, and fluffing air sounds that instantly put me off. I never had that issue with the Z2300; they just didn't play at all.

So, disappointed, I ordered the PSW505. When it arrived, I was surprised that the size difference was minimal. Sure, it was bigger than the PSW10, but only an inch or two (see related pictures). When I turned hooked it up and turned it on, I was instantly amazed. Everything sounded great, and, more importantly, frequencies below 40hz not only played, but there was zero port noise. I haven't tested it lower than 28hz, but that's all I really wanted to play down to, anyway.

All in all, I'm glad I decided to go with the PSW505. It may be slightly bigger than the PSW10, but it's much more than slightly better sounding. Hooray for finally getting to hear everything, and maybe even feel a bit of that ultra low range (>28hz), too.

Note: The grill did arrive smashed up on the PSW505 due to the bad packaging on Polk's part, but a quick call to them got them to send a replacement free of charge.
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on September 22, 2009
Bass is clear, deep, oh, and LOUD! If you really want your HT to sound like an IMAX theater, then I whole-heartedly recommend this sub. It fills in the low end seamlessly. It also takes the burden of reproducing low lows off of your other speakers (which aren't nearly as capable as the PSW505). This is not a cheap "rumble box". The first movie I watched with this sub connected is Peter Jackson's "King Kong". The raptor/bronto chase through the gully is off the hook! The 30-ton bronto's gallop will set up a standing wave in your intestinal tract!!! But loud does not mean muddy or rumbly with the 505. I was pushing the sub to about 50% volume and I thought my house's windows may break. And like I said, that was only at about 50% volume. Besides, you want to be a good neighbor and not max this thing out cuz it can be heard clearly from a good 50 feet away. I find that it performs exceedingly well at about 15% of its capability in my medium/small sided living room. At normal/reasonable volumes, this sub recreates the super lows that truly make the difference between listening pleasure and listening rapture. No HT is truly complete without a sub and this one fits the bill to a tee.

a) I definitely WOULDN'T recommend this product if you live in a dorm/apt/condo/townhouse. This thing has the sonic capability to really anger your neighbors.

b) This sub is one of the few in its price range that actually has an LFE input (Low Frequency Effects) in addition to LL & speaker-level. I you didn't know, LFE & Line-Level (LL) inputs both use an RCA connector. The difference is that the LFE channel carries only low freqs from source whereas LL carries the entire sound spectrum. The LFE goes straight to your sub's amp whereas LL first goes through your sub's built-in crossover and then from there to your sub's amp. If you plug LL into the LFE input, you'll be asking the sub reproduce the full sound spectrum. Not what you want, of course. Probably not a big deal whether you use one or the other. The Polk's built-in crossover is fine, i'm sure, but I'd rather do the crossing-over at the A/V unit level.

c) Apparently, a good powered sub has an ON/OFF/AUTO switch, a 180-degree phase-change switch, a volume control, a cross-over level control (this control is not functional if you are using the LFE), a LL input (or two), an LFE input, and a Left/Right channel speaker-level input and corresponding outputs (for a total of 8 speaker wire connectors).

d) The unit seems very well built with what feels like sturdy wood (or MDF) and is somewhat heavy. Which is a good thing. It feels reassuringly sturdy/massive.

e) Would I buy this sub again? Well, I've discovered that many of the wonderful items that are for sale at Amazon are no longer being produced. IE, they are discontinued by the manufacturer. Do a product search at and you will no find this sub (you can do a search in the product support section to find its corresponding literature pdf). I just guess that that is the nature of the beast. Great products sooner or later get replaced with even newer & greater products. The older and merely "great" (not "greater") products still need to get cleared out of the inventory so they wind up at or other e-tail sites. So, despite the fact that this sub is no longer in production, no longer supported, and is probably a year or two or three (or more) old... would I still buy it again? HELL YES!
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on November 7, 2008
Was very iffy on this sub since I was going from a $1,000 Velodyne to this, but let me tell you I am not disapointed.Low tight bass with no distortion or rumble, sounds much better playing music than the Velodyne did,even though I use it mainly for movies.In my opinion you are getting a high end sounding subwoofer for $300, there is no way you can beat that!Tried to see how loud I could take it to see at what level it would start to distort, but could not get there because my windows were about to pop And my nose started to itch from the tremendous vibration, teeth rattled a little too! trust me I am not exagerating! BUY THIS SUB!!!!!

Update: YES March 10 2012 and this sub is still going strong....Amazing!
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on October 30, 2007
Polk Audio is still making great speakers. I bought my first pair almost 30 years ago in 1978, had them for almost 25 years till I replaced them with smaller ones with a Velodyne sub. When my overpriced Velodyne sub went out on me last month, I decided to give Polk Audio a try since my first experience with Polk was so good. All I can say is that I'm glad I went with the 12" and for the approx $300 price tag, it sounds as good if not better than my high end $800 Velodyne sounded. For the extra $75 or so, get the 12" as opposed to the 10", you'll be glad you did.
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(Please rate this review if you found it helpful)

EDIT: After 2 months of having this subwoofer, I have concluded that this is an amazing deal for the money! The sounds blends in perfectly with my Infinity Primus series of tower and bookshelf speakers. Luckily my receiver has the Odyssey EQ setup so it perfectly blended the subwoofers volume into my system. Something else i found interesting is that the black wooden finish on the outside matches perfectly with the Infinity speakers! Other than the small logo, you can't tell that it's a different brand. As for the topic that is not always discussed, ambient lighting in a home theatre is a buzz kill. There is a small green light on the back of this subwoofer but it does not provide enough light to be noticed even in a completely pitch black room.

Overall, you cannot go wrong with this subwoofer and i can't recommend this any more highly.

Here is my original review:

Review: First of all, this is a ridiculous sale! $180 for a 12 inch sub is awesome! it sounds great and you can tell by the weight of the speaker (about 45 lbs) that this thing is a tank

Very heavy and sturdy
great sound
easy to follow setup/instructions
black wood matches many other speakers
very very very DEEP bass (i actually had to turn it down to about 40% of full volume to avoid making the dog bark)
Mine first speaker came with a COMPLETELY shattered grill but amazon promptly replaced it free of charge

Overall, this was a great purchase and i look forward to using it in the future.
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on January 7, 2011
This is a great budget sub for those looking to get their feet wet with home audio, for someone that has never had a sub before, or is upgrading from a HTIB (Home Theater In a Box). I currently have this sub and have been using it for 2 months. Polk has a longstanding reputation for building quality products and for excellent customer service. If you're considering the PSW10, don't as for a little more money this sub is in a completely different league and I have owned both.


- Price
- Good sound for the money
- Decent looking sub
- Decent sound quality for home theater or music
- Provides a good amount of bass for a medium size room (20x15)


- Doesn't go very low. I believe this sub is tuned at 35Hz from reading reviews, and it drops off sharply after that. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of the sound is in movies where you'd want a sub to perform well. For music, it's less likely going to be an issue. In my own experience, I played a couple of bass test songs (Bass, I Love You and a frequency sweep) and found the same to be true. On the lower notes this sub simply loses it's composure under the tuning frequency, which is to be expected as there's no acoustic load for the driver under that. The end result is that the driver flaps freely and there is concerning port chuffing (noise) and simply a lack of output.


- At this price point there are few competitors to this sub. The BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer has gotten better reviews than the PSW505 and will play lower and likely sound better doing it. If you catch it on sale it will cost less than this sub, otherwise expect to pay a little more. Another option would be the Lava Subs 12" 250 Watt Home Theater Powered Subwoofer which has gotten great reviews on the A/V forums and is a new contender, but costs a bit more.

- If you have more money to spend or can wait, and you care about true performance, save up and buy a better sub. Some internet direct companies (Elemental Designs, Hsu, Epik for example) all offer great values and will provide performance in a completely different league from this sub.
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on December 4, 2008
I have been in the process of slowly replacing my speakers, going from an old set of conventional 3-way Altec Lansings (w/Bose surround satellites and a Boston Acoustic center channel) to an all-Polk Audio 5.1 configuration. Over the last few months, I purchased a set of Polk Audio RTI A7s for my fronts, a Polk Audio CSI A6 Center Channel, and a pair of Polk Audio RTI A3s which serve as rears. The new speakers offer great clarity and response across the mid- and high-range (they are all voice matched so it sounds great) but they are a bit lacking in terms of bass as compared with the old Altecs, which featured a 12" woofer and a lower -3db limit of ~30Hz, rendering a subwoofer unnecessary. I needed that little super low-end "thump" I used to have (the A7s, the most responsive speakers I own at the low-end of the sound spectrum, have a lower -3db limit of 35Hz), and after reading the reviews here this sub seemed like the best combination of performance and value. I purchased this item from Amazon and it arrived in 3 days' time. Plugged it in and all I can say is wow. I have a medium-sized room, and this product has no problem providing the low-end bass I need without breaking a sweat. The PSW505 is self-amplified, and I have it set at less than half of max volume. At its current setting it is more than suitable. When I crank it up, it makes the entire room shake, and literally rattles my teeth.

The PSW505 features level control, phase control, adjustable crossover setting (from 60Hz to 125Hz) as well as a standby switch and the ability to manually turn it on or off or set it to auto, which automatically looks for a signal and if it doesn't find one shuts the sub off within 15 minutes. You can hook it up using dual inputs (banana plug capable), unfiltered LFE, or filtered line-level input, which I am using. The item looks sharp too, with a sleek black wood-grain finish, a silver front faceplate, polymer composite cone, and a stylish dark grey molded grill to direct the bass to the listening area. It's also magnetically shielded so it won't affect other nearby A/V components if it's front-placed, like mine is. The quality and craftsmanship are evident even before plugging it in.

Tooth-rattling notwithstanding, the bass is extremely clear, with very distinct bass reproduction for both music (plucked strings, bass notes) and entertainment (booming bass for those Hollywood blockbusters). I have not been able to push it to the point of distortion, even at max volume it easily handles the load (Running on a Yamaha RX-V1800 with a PS3 handling the Bluray/DVD/SACD duty). I am completely satisfied and would recommend this sub to anyone with a high-performance system and the necessary space. At this price you can't go wrong with this item, as you can scale it to any size room you need short of a concert hall. I don't see myself needing to replace this item for a very long time, if ever. Highest recommendation.
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on November 8, 2009
This is one of Polks best subwoofer products. I read a lot of reviews and was stuck between this subwoofer, DSW pro 600 and the ED A3-250 subwoofer. All the subs are rated pretty high among audio enthusiasts. Most of the audiophile websites diss polk as they are offered at most BM stores...I guess if you are an audiophile you should buy stuff that is either Internet direct company or extremely expensive stuff. Either way its a personal choice. For me, a bassist/drummer (active musician) and a budding pianist...i could not find a better subwoofer at this price range and I am very picky about music/movie sound. I have polk TSI speakers (TSI500 fronts, CS20 center and polk RC60i for the rears) all around and this subwoofer just made the whole experience amazing. My in room extension is so good that i am sure it is hitting less than 25hz at the very low notes. The ED subwoofer did not come in the size i wanted 12inch and also did not come in the finsh i was looking for. Movies sound fantastic and the rumble is felt all around the room, my living room area is 20*18. The subwoofer just fills the hall, watching blu ray movies with DTS Master HD experience is just amazing.
Music performance is also fantastic, it is never overpowering. I have the crossover set to 60hz after listening at 60, 100 and 80 with my fronts which gave the smoothest performance. There is no port noise even at extreme levels and I mean extreme levels...the walls shake when you are close to reference and the volume gain on the subwoofer is set only half way. Dont even think about other subwoofers unless you have upwards of 500$ to get into the sub 20hz subwoofers, just use the money you save on the subwoofer to get yourself good fronts which make a lot of difference in the overall sound of the system.
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on February 8, 2011
I would like to say what hasn't been said before, but unfortunately I can't do that! What's been said before is soooooo true--this sub ROCKS!!! I would love to make a review like the top rated reviews on here right now, but I refuse to say what has already been said. Simply put (again), this subs ROCKS!!! Placed in a smaller room (18' x 12'), this sub is 110% amazing. I can only imagine it sounds just as amazing in a larger room. I have ONE recommendation--BUY THIS SUB!!!
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on October 26, 2012
This sub-woofer replaced a ten year old 200w/10" whose performance had been excellent, but suffered from RF interference from one of my radios, that no amount of choking and filtering could cure. The problem appears to have been direct radiation into the amplifier section that only major surgery was going to fix. The disturbing "thump" every time the radio was keyed (several times per minute) became quite annoying. Either the radio or the sub had to be turned off, hence my search for a new sub-woofer.

Enter the Polk Audio PSW505. I'm a strong advocate of buying behind the curve. Some of the best equipment I've ever owned was purchased with this approach. The PSW505 is not "current", but it is recent, and has a strong set of reviews at several sites (including my favorite, Amazon) The price is the same that I paid ten years ago for a 10" 200w unit, not near the quality of this Polk Audio product. The initial good news: no RF interference, no thumping, so it is clear that the RF shielding and bypassing in the sub-woofer's amplifier is well done. I even increased the power output from my radio from 5 watts to 45 watts, and no interference was present.

On to ease of use and performance:

Setup was very simple. One of three ways are used to hook up the sub-woofer to the system. The most common and no doubt popular is a singe RCA jack labeled LFE on the sub-woofer. This corresponds to a pre-filtered low level output present on most current Home Theater receiver/amplifiers. My Onkyo has such an output and a singe RCA cable connects the HT to the sub. Thee second means to connect the system is a pair (stereo) line-in jacks on the PSW-505. These are routed to a low-pass filter in the sub's amp, to set the cutoff frequency of the sub. Note: the LFE input on the sub assumes all filtering is going to be done in the Home Theater amp, so the sub does no filtering at all. Be sure to go into your Home Theater amp and set it up properly for a sub-woofer output. This includes setting the sub out to ON/YES, and setting the low pass filter frequency (100 Hz or so). The third method of connection is speaker wires. The same filtering is used on the speaker wire inputs as on the line-in inputs. There is a control on the back of the sub labeled 60/90/120 Hz. This looks like a three position switch, but I can't be sure. In any case, I didn't use the internal filtering of the sub, as my Home Theater amp (HT), did the filtering.

Performance is gratifying, to say the least. I did find the best match to my speakers was a setting of 120 Hz as the crossover from my HT to the sub. I used three methods to evaluate the sub-woofer, and one to measure. Firstly, I did some adjusting with a Sound Pressure Level (SPL) meter, and was able to observe the low frequency performance of the PSW505 with a swept signal source that started around 12 Hz and swept up to 300 Hz. There is a substantial amount of clean output starting at around 26 Hz. It drove the SPL meter to the peg and I couldn't hear it at all. Age can do amazing things to one's hearing! When the frequency sweep reached 32 Hz or so, I could both "feel" and hear the clean output of this beast. Frequency response was very reasonable (considering room acoustics play a gigantic part at these frequencies) up to the 120 Hz cutoff, and the main speakers handled things well from there. From a measurement perspective, the PSw505 amp/sub combo passed with flying colors.


My test music consists of three artists:

Little Feat: Waiting For Columbus. Whoa. Fat Man in a Bathtub, Mercenary Territory and Spanish Moon were exquisite. The detail was most impressive and the raw amount of audio could be set anywhere one would like, from nicely balanced to shaking the room (tsste varies).

Papa Doo Run Run (famous Beach Brothers group that made a TelArc album with massive low frequency demads): Again: detail was astonishing, amplitude impressive.

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D: Opening tympani and orchestral crescendos were clean and LOUD.

Lastly: Various movies and series that I listen to regularly from my satellite DVR. I use slightly less aggressive settings on the sub for movies and tv series than I do for music. The contribution of the sub was seamless, yet obvious. By that I mean the sub did not overwhelm nor distract from the DD 5.1 tracks I was watching/listening to. When something dramatic happened on screen, the sub let you know. When a bass line of music was laid down, the sub came forward. When a very deep male voice entered, it was given a "thickness" with the sub, that is not present in my existing speakers (towers that have dual 10" drivers in each).

Overall, I couldn't be more pleased. Superb performance, (clean and detailed), ease of setup and of course, massage quality/quantity of bass! Oh...yes...the price was very good and delivery was on time, no damage, as usual from a fine company like Amazon.
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