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4.7 out of 5 stars
Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)
Price:$199.95 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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339 of 356 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
Verified Purchase
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 polk.com 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 amazon.com 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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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
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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168 of 186 people found the following review helpful
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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148 of 169 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2007
Verified Purchase
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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108 of 127 people found the following review helpful
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.

Pros:

- 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)

Cons:

- 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.

Suggestions:

- 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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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
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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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2009
I set this subwoofer up in my basement home theather. It took me a while to get the settings right on my Pioneer 1019 AV receiver to fine tune the sound, but now that I did - HOLY COW!!! This baby is so clear and powerful it's shocking. This is my 3rd subwoofer. I have a cheap Yamaha, and decent Sony 12", and now the Polk 505 and it absolutely blows the others away. The Sony sounded pretty good and could certainly shake the floor but the bass isn't particularly clear. There was a good low rumble but you couldn't hear definition of what exactly was happening. I thought that was all I should expect. With the Polk 505 the bass is very clear (not boomy if that's a word) and distinct. The sound quality is not only much more distinct, but it FAR more powerful. Sometimes you actually feel like it "hits" you. Awesome. I'm grinning from ear to ear.

I probably wouldn't recommend this subwoofer unless you live somewhere it won't bother your neighbors. If you live in an apartment your neighbors will hate you and you will be evicted. :)

Technical Note: When I hooked up the subwoofer using the single coaxial cable to my subwoofer (filtered) output on the receiver, my Pioneer 1019 did an auto sound check and setup. It set the crossover filter to about 60. That was too low for my system. I wasn't getting anything out of the sub until a super low frequency would trigger it, and then it would blow me away. I used the Pioneer's menu to manually calibrate the receiver's crossover up to 120 so more sound from the slightly higher frequencies would come through to the sub and it was much better. Note that plugging the coaxial cable into the filtered jack on the sub bypasses the crossover frequency dial on the sub. It then assumes your receiver is doing the filtering - which it is - so you might need to adjust that level on your receiver.

Polk actually recommends not using the coax cable and instead running your front speaker wires first to the subwoofer and then from the sub to the front speakers. This lets the sub's crossover do the work of filtering which frequency the sub uses. In that case you turn off the "subwoofer" on your receiver which puts full frequency to front speakers. The Polk crossover then separates the lows to the sub and sends the rest to front speakers. I didn't do it that way because my front speakers are wall mounted and the wiring is inside the walls. It would be difficult to access that wiring, run it to the sub and then back to the fronts.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2010
Verified Purchase
I had been meaning to finally add that oomph missing from the (very few) action movies I loved, and this tax season I finally found an excuse to see what was available. I already had a good setup [Onkyo TX-SR806 to: fronts, Infinity 3(the Onkyo lets me set the main amps to 6ohms) cabinets and crossover moded with modern heavier magnet woofers and paper-cone tweeters; center, just some full range Bose bookshelf(it works!); sides, Wharfedale CRS 3s; Rear, Wharfedale CRS 5s], but even though music sounded great, even at high volume, the movies just weren't coming through. So I finally considered that wall-shaking bass might be the answer...

It was. And the reason I can satisfactorily report this is thanks to the Polk Audio PSW 505 12" subwoofer. I felt that ordering an affordable subwoofer was likely a mistake and that I should wait for when I could afford a high-end. Well, after getting to know my receiver better and really paying attention to the subwoofer's crossover knob, I am very pleased with its performance from Movies to live jazz. When it's shelved just below the LFE range of your main woofers, it just sings. Punchy? Check. Volume? Check. MY-GOD-WHAT-IS-THIS-WRATH-UPON-US bass reproduction for movie effects? CHECK.

Another reviewer commented that the 'auto' setting(so that you don't have to turn it on and off yourself all of the time) was slow to respond. I haven't had the same experience. I have watched the indicator light with scrutiny as I turn on my receiver and have each time so far had the subwoofer respond to input signal within 1 or 2 seconds.

Basically, if this subwoofer is within your budget, and you want a major upgrade to your(come on, admit it) low-mid-range system, this is the best value that I could find after much research, and I am not partial to brands.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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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54 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
Verified Purchase
** boy does time fly ....3 Jan 2013 update....my two PSW505's still amaze me.......that is all.....

**Update, 28 Dec 2011, still flexin' my windows in my basement and taking names....just ordered another one because was running this and a 6.5 klipsch sub in each corner, will go 2 PSW505's. Tip...you can catch them onsale late at night like one day a month for $170. Oh also 2 weeks ago the pizza man said "last week what were you watching?? When I came to the door I could fell the bass in my chest." That would be dark night with a PSW505 and an Okyno 809 reciever....thanks

Purchased this sub at the same time I purchased a BIC F12. Will update with
more info but basically ran them the same hours before testing (about 15 on music and movies), watch same 20-30min of exact movie scenes(Inception, Star wars, Matrix reloaded, Dark Knight, did testing "slow, C weight, blabla with meter from my friends father who is "Carver, Paradigm" Audophile type.

Design: The PSW505 is built a little better and the grill doesn't vibrate when bass is loud like the F12. The F12 is a little higher but the PSW505 seems about 15lbs heavier.

Bottom line, this PSW505 produced a way higher SPL with the same settings than the F12, much higher.
My basement theater room is 25 wide by 40' deep. Placed both subs in same location, 1 foot from intersection of north and west walls. Sony 820 receiver connected subwoofer out, receiver on -3db SW setting volume 32, 40 and 42.

This Sub is powerful enough to overpower my BIC LRC (Left right center) Formula speakers. The F12 couldn't do that without going to 3/4 volume and shaking the grill and sounding like it was working 2 hard. The PSW505 at about 5/8 volume shakes my entire north wall, the window, the ceiling and the south wall about 35 feet away from the sub.

F12 did sound a bit better for punch deep bass songs like "murder gram" by LL Cool J, and "eat em up L". On movies F12 sounds nice, but PSW505 sounds like IMAX.

It's like comparing a 50 cal. to a cannon (PSW505). Both will do damage but the PSW505 does the most. Also with the PSW the bass is "thick enough" to where the M16 shots in Inception kinda scares me, with the F12 no.

F12 is good tho' but the Polk, you can play that thing and your walls will submit before the sub.

So anyway the F12 is going back to Amazon tomorrow.

FYI most people who review subs are upgrading from a HTIB (home theater in a box) so they will like the sound of anything, I have a 8" Klipch, sub12 Klipsch, 6.5" klipsch from my 300 HD surround system, some 8" off brand, 2 subs in my living room, 2 fosgate punch classics in my car, etc, etc, so I know what Im talking about when it comes to bass.

Like someone said, this Polk isn't something for apartment dwellers or people who share walls with neighbors! It actually shakes my ceiling. No picture falling off the wall and all that other crazy stuff but once again, my theater room is 25x40.

I will edit with db meter readings I did over the last 2 days.

One more thing, you can run 2 subs from 2 dif manufactures at the same time, did it with the Polk and F12 and the Polk and one of my Klipsch subs. Just place them in a room perpendicular to each other and also one will have to have phase set to 0 and one to 180.

5 starts because for a $200 and something sub this thing scares me. Not 5 stars compared to $900 600watt RMS subs.

Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)

BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer

edit: When I first connecting this sub, I got little bass and port noise, took about 5 days of playing it about 1-2h a day before it started to really "do work" but every day it got better and better with thicker bass at a lower volume.

26 Oct 2011 edit:

Ok so here are the SPL readings I took:

with Sony 820 receiver vol at 32 the F12 produced 91.5db the PSW505 94db SPL....SPL w/o a sub on my system at vol. 32 is 65dba. That's with the subs hooked up exactly the same way but polk just under 1/2 volume crossed over at 90 and F12 just over 1/2 gain crossed over at 90. Location was each sub 2ft from Northwest corner of theater room (25x40)

with polk at 1/2 volume, and vol. 40 on sony receiver Polk hit 101.5 SPL, little over 1/2 (like one dash) hit 105 SPL. F12 same Vol hit 95 SPL both crossed over at 90 htz.

just as a comp, my HD300 6.5 sub at 40 hits 82db SPL.

at vol. 20. the Polk hit 92db SPL, the F12 86 db

at vol 30. the Polk hit 103 db and F12 98 db (sitting slightly to the left of test done at vol 32 above).

Songs to test: "respect" by Notorious BIG (should here a low to high rumble on each bass hit)

"Murdergram" LL cool J

"Eat-em Up L" LL cool J

"phone numbers" Whiz Khalifa - this song has some fast low bass hits that the F12 got each one clearer than the Polk.

"get em girls" Cam'ron

"booming system" LL cool J - particularly the part where he spell "C O O L I N"

a bunch of random top 40 songs and a few limp biskit songs and the movies above.

So anyway I got this to feel the bass in my chest while watching movies and provide some low end for music. If you're only listening to music get the F12, if you want to feel gun shots in movies get the PSW505. I couldn't even imagine using 2 PSW505's!

**Update 28 Oct 2011** Switch my output on my bluray to bitstream HD versus PCM to let my sony 810 reciever decode the sound and the LFE signal came on the reciever when watching movies and the bass just got real!!! Now run it at little over 1/4 sounds nice. Gets better by the week. Prob had it 2 weeks now listing at about 1.5h/day av.
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