This is the flagship subwoofer offering from Premier Acoustic, their most powerful and imposing unit. I had started seeing this brand's name get bantered about on forums as a good option for people looking for a solid bang for the buck subwoofer, but hadn't seen any real feedback on them so I decided to pick one up to test. This unit is based around a 15 driver in a bass reflex cabinet and is available web direct with a street price of between $349-$389 depending on what sort of sale or deal you can find on any particular day. The built in amplifier is rated at 250w rms and 1,000w peak and the single 4 rear firing port has a bit of a flare to it to help prevent port noise. The effective frequency range is listed as 25-180hz with no tolerance given. The enclosure is a black oak finish with a gloss black lacquer top and bottom. The top has a nice contour to it in the front that gives it a bit of flair. The grill is cloth covered, solidly built out of wood and has high quality fasteners that securely lock it in. In fact it is sometimes difficult to remove. The grill is contoured to smoothly transition into the sides. The subwoofers basic dimensions are 21.1Hx17.9 Wx19.2D. The weight is listed at 87lbs with no mention of whether this is the shipping weight or the weight of the sub unpacked. Regardless I was surprised by the heft of this subwoofer considering its price range. I would guess it at 75lbs or so at least. The warranty terms are 5 years on the driver and 2 years on the electronics. Overall it is a solidly built and nice looking subwoofer that gives no hint of its economical cost.
Looking closer at the amplifier and driver we can see that the amplifier has fairly standard controls which you would expect in this price class. It sports the usual phase control, input gain, internal crossover control and LFE input to bypass the internal crossover. There is no onboard user adjustable EQ, room compensation or adjustment. There are no speaker level inputs and high pass filtered output though. One interesting thing is that the amplifier makes use of a good sized torroidal transformer that is mounted in the bottom of the enclosure with a bolt and large washer visible if you view the bottom of the sub. I suspect this may be to help prevent shipping related damages to the amplifier by more securely affixing the heavy transformer to the enclosure itself.
The driver has a silver painted or plastic coated paper cone, a large gray foam half roll surround, a stamped frame, a single moderate sized spider, a 2 diameter voice coil and a moderate sized single slug ferrite based motor with a very heavily bumped back plate. It is not a monster driver by any means but looks adequate to do the job at hand and appropriate for a sub of this price range. It probably weighs between 10-15lbs if I had to guess but I didn't weigh it. I also did not take any pictures of the driver or internal cabinetry. I know..."Fail".
I started off by running a few frequency response sweeps with the subwoofer in different orientations to determine which would be the best to test it in. This is because the subwoofer has a front firing driver but a rear firing port. This will place one or the other further away from the microphone and reduce its relative output. Testing at 2 meters instead of at 1m helps out some in this regard. As you can see below rotating the subwoofer to have the driver front firing, side firing and rear firing did have a notable affect on the response. I ultimately chose to go with the driver forward firing. The reason for this is because it provided by far the most output above 30hz. The other 2 orientations lost anywhere from 2-8db in output between 40-200hz otherwise which is a very big hit. Rotating to have the port side firing or front firing did increase the low end some but this only helped out below 30hz. This subwoofer is tuned to about 25hz and rolls off very quickly below 20hz. No matter how you cut it it simply does not have a great amount of output below 30hz as you will see later. Sacrificing the 40-125hz range for a few extra db below 30hz simply doesn't make sense for a subwoofer of this size and cost simply doesn't make sense. That is the reason for testing it with the driver forward firing. Also keep in mind that since the port was further away from the microphone it's actual output below 30hz is going to be a little bit stronger than what the tests show when in use in someone's room. The actual 20-25hz output is probably some 3 or 4db better than indicated in these results.
This is the effect of the crossover control setting on the subwoofer's basic response. The crossover was set to it's minimum, 12 o'clock and maximum positions. All tests were taken with the crossover set to it's maximum position.
This is the basic response of the sub as used for the rest of the tests. Note that this sub has a nicely extended upper response that very gently rolls off by about 3db by the time it meets a built in low pass filter in the amplifier at about 180hz. This is a nice thing to see after testing so many subwoofers with a response humped up in the middle of the bass range and severely rolling off by even 100hz. I did note during my brief listening tests with the sub that it had a very pleasant sound to it on music tracks. Note that this sub rolls off quite quickly. This is partly exaggerated by the placement of the port relative to the microphone for the tests but it is still 10 to 15db down by 25hz no matter how you look at it. What this type of response points to is that the enclosure volume is too small with the low tuning of 25hz and this particular driver, to produce the low end efficiency needed to match the top end. This results in a gentle roll off down to tune followed by a sharp drop off below tuning. This is not a bad thing in some ways as in use, most people's rooms will reinforce the low bass and bring the low end up some.
Looking at the time domain measurements there is not a lot jumping out at us to comment on which is a good thing. In general this subwoofer exhibits no tell tale signs of resonances or lingering notes and has a nice rapid decay down into the noise floor. The group delay performance shows more of the same.
Looking at the distortion measurements the THD is not the best I have seen but not exactly horrible either. The deep bass distortion is rather high. Above 40hz the performance is better. Looking at the harmonic breakdown the distortion above 60hz is dominated by H2 which is good. Below there it is equal parts 2nd and 3rd harmonic. Note the big notch around 60hz where the distortion performance is notably better. This probably corresponds with the upper impedance peak above the tuning this is where the efficiency is very high and the amplifier is supplying very little actual current into the driver, which results in less distortion. Also note how it shifts downward at higher input levels. Remember that, it comes in handy some times.
100db sweep distortion by harmonic
105db sweep distortion by harmonic
110db sweep distortion by harmonic
115db sweep distortion by harmonic
Spectral contamination tests
CEA2010 Distortion Results by Frequency
One thing that I wanted to note is that since I had this subwoofer at the same time as the Bic PL-200 I couldn't help but notice a certain familial resemblance. I would be very surprised if the 2 subs are not produced in the same factory by the same company. The black oak finish, the gloss top and bottom panels, the grill fabric, grill fasteners, the packaging, the cosmetics of the 2 drivers all point in that direction. Not to mention that I bought both from the same online retailer. Just a guess.
Given the fact that about 35% ( I use this information loosely that is) is based off the "budget" series I do believe your test will help out future purchases.
That's my favorite regular bourbon. Thanks for the review. As always, it was top shelf.
Great budget sub and have been very happy with mine. Will be building some DIY subs in the future but this sub and the eD are solid subs on a budget.
AVR - Pioneer SC1222k
Display - LG 60" Plasma
Front - JBL L880's
Center - JBL LC2
Surrounds X 4 - JBL ES80bk's
Subs - Dual Premier Acoustic PA-150's
BR - Panasonic DMP-BDT500
DVD/CD - Toshiba HD-A35
CD Spinner - Some Sony HDMI 5 disk changer
2 channel Speakers - Martin Logan Motion 12's