Premier Acoustic PA-150 Data-Bass test results - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Today's test subject is the Premier Acoustics PA-150. This sub was purchased about 5 months ago and testing was completed nearly 3 months ago. The results are finally being presented after a stunningly hectic intervening period! Wooo!



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".











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post #2 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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All measurements were taken in the usual Data-Bass fashion with the subwoofer outdoors in a very large open field and the measurement microphone placed at a distance 2 meters away from the subwoofer.



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.




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post #3 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Here we have the power compression test results. This subwoofer surprised me with how much headroom it had at 40hz and above. It actually completed a nominal 115db sweep level which I remind you is referenced to 50hz at 2 meters, so this is equivalent to a 121db nominal sweep at 1m! It did exhibit a large amount of compression most notably above 70hz and around the port tuning 16-30hz. There was also some port wheezing in evidence on the 110 and 115db sweep levels, but the subwoofer never acted in danger. The driver produced a lot of excursion but other than heavy distortion and the port noise the sweeps were uneventful. The 115db sweep I would also suspect had a large amount of amplifier clipping involved. This sub is amplifier limited and it appears that the amp is of sufficient power and the filters built in placed right, so that the amplifier cannot mechanically damage the driver no matter what ridiculous Hollywood LFE effect is thrown into it. That is good. You can have fun with this sub and find it's limits without fearing irreversible damage the first time you turn it up a little too much. This is the way any sub should be designed IMHO, since you never know what may be in the next blockbuster sound track, or what might happen if the kids play with some settings while you aren't there.









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


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post #4 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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The max long term output for this sub is not huge below 40hz, but it kicks some butt above there and produces an amount of bass commensurate with something larger and more expensive. This data is derived from the maximum output level achieved during the power compression sweeps.








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post #5 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the CEA2010 output data. The overall trends we have already seen rear their heads again here. At 31.5hz and below this sub only does ok. Remember that its output in the low range is hampered somewhat by the port being further away from the microphone so it's real output is a little better than this, but even still it is no 20hz titan that will be knocking things off shelves anytime soon. Once this sub gets to 40hz and above though it starts putting up surprisingly big numbers. At 50hz and above this subwoofer is up there with some much more expensive units.


Attachment 218711











CEA2010 Distortion Results by Frequency









LL
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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At the end of the day I like this sub. It is built well and of very reasonably cost. It looks classy as well. It will not plumb the 16-31.5hz octave like some much bigger, more powerful subs, but I can't think of any competitor subs in this price range that will do any better there either. It should be decent down to 20-25hz with some help from room gain. Above 40hz this thing will crank out plenty of bass for most. I also like the fact that this sub has a nice linear top end response up until about 180hz. That should make it easier to integrate well with mains. If you are the kind of person who likes to really crank up music sometimes but have a limited budget this could be a good fit. A pair at about $750 offers a lot of headroom for the money. I wish that the distortion results were a little bit better for this sub but it really doesn't start to get high until the 110 and 115db output sweeps which would be very, very loud in a typical medium sized room. If I could change one thing about this sub it would be the port tuning. I think it has been handicapped a little bit with a 25hz tune. The enclosure volume and driver don't really support it well and the response has drastically dropped off by then as a consequence. If the tuning were raised about 1/3rd of an octave to 30 or 31.5hz it would raise the efficiency a few db between 25-40hz and reduce the excursion demands on the driver. I think it is a mistake trying to eke out a useable 20hz with this sub. Extra output power in the 25-35hz range to help match the very high output in the upper bass would be a better compromise. All that said at the end of the day this is a lot of speaker for the money if you are in the market for a <$400 subwoofer.

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.



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post #7 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Woodford reserved...
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 05:23 PM
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Once again Ricci, thank you for all the hard work put foward toward the testing!! Its great to see results on each test you perform as it be taken into thought. Since there is no "true" measurements on these subs (.. until now that is) its a great base for referance.


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.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 06:07 PM
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This is a terrific review, and a big help to all of those looking for a sub for a reasonable price. This and the PL200 review are seriously some of the most valuable posts in this forum. Thank you for this!
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci View Post

Woodford reserved...

That's my favorite regular bourbon. Thanks for the review. As always, it was top shelf.
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 08:07 PM
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Thanks for the review

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post #12 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 08:16 PM
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Pretty impressive what this sub does on the top end considering it's price.
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 09:38 PM
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Thanks for posting this! I own this sub (also own an eD A2-300) and I think Ricci nailed this review. This sub puts out some big bass for the price. We have this in a large room right now and the bass has been strong. I have mine corner loaded and it can go below 20hz but not with real authority. But as Ricci mentioned this sub shines above 25hz or so.

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.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
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Woodford reserved...

Haha. Let me know next time you are near Minneapolis.

Excellent review!
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-30-2011, 01:11 AM
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Thx for the testing - will the updated numbers soon be up on data-bass.com?

No waste, grab a bar, get saw on.
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post #16 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 10:21 AM
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Thanks to you Ricci, I want to express my thanks for all your time and effort, it has helped me make a decision to purchase the PA-150. I currently have a PL-200, and feel for my needs the PA 150 is a formidable upgrade for 2.1 usage, the PL-200 will be delegated to HT usage.

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

 

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post #17 of 17 Old 09-24-2011, 06:27 AM
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good work on testing these and other subs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci View Post

The effective frequency range is listed as 25-180hz with no tolerance given.

based on your main base respoonse it would be 25-180Hz +/- 8dB

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