I purchased a Pioneer SW-8 subwoofer from newegg at the last sale for a secondary system in my house. The sub had great reviews on newegg and was purchased at a price that mirrors the monoprice subwoofers -- which is to say unfairly cheap. Unfortunately I seem to have given the single SW-8 subwoofer a bit more of a workout than it can handle in my ~3500 cubic foot room. This is the same room used in the subwoofer shootout links in my signature. I turned off all external EQ in my Onkyo TX-NR 1007 receiver (no Audyssey, no dynamic eq, mains crossover set to 100hz, sub LFE set to 120hz) and just measured the SW-8 response in my 3500 cubic foot room using my Omnimic. The sub was placed in an optimal position to get the best frequency response from the listening position. (identical placement to the measuring position for the BIC F12, BIC V1220, and Klipsch RW-12D single subs I've previously measured). The mic placed at the main listening position. I'll link those previous measurement threads for the BIC and Klipsch subs here for easy access...
BIC sub omnimic thread -
Klipsch sub omnimic thread -
Distance calibration in the receiver is accurately set for all the tests I do. The frequency response graphs are taken with no smoothing but averaged over 10 captures each from my main listening position (8-10 foot away from the subwoofers). The sub placement for this measurement is on the left side of my projector screen with port facing outward toward the outside room wall. You can see this layout in my room pics linked in my sig. This configuration is the best/flattest position I've found in my room.
This sub is NOT a heavy hitter. Not that I expected it to be, but so much a lightweight that I coudn't even hit the standard 75dB level calibration test tone from my listening position that I've used without issue for every other sub I've demoed. In fact with +12 gain on the AVR sub trim (max), a y splitter in use to engage both L&R plate amp inputs, the sub's plate amp volume maxed, and the crossover at the highest point on the plate amp (basically everything maxed) I couldn't even quite hit 70dB at my listening position using the Onkyo's subwoofer AVR test tone. It was measuring at 69.x dB (and sounding a wee bit distorted on the test tone even at that level) ---- --- Not a good start. I backed it off full volume on the plate amp to about 3/4 volume (left it at +12dB on the AVR) and proceeded to grab my FR graph. Keep in mind my room offers zero low end gain even when compared to outdoors measurements -- this verified multiple times on multiple different subs in the two subwoofer meets I've hosted.
First I'll post the other budget subs I've gathered frequency responses for in my room under identical settings to compare:
Single BIC F12
Single BIC V1220
BIC V1220 pair vs. Klipsch RW-12D pair
And now time for the Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer FR Graph - no smoothing - 10 captures averaged - 2dB spacing.
Single Pioneer SW-8
Um -- that's right. I could not get this sub beyond 85dB no matter what I did. Using the same graph settings used for the other budge subs this little guy barely registers. The AVR was at 0 (reference volume) the sub was 12dB hot, and it was getting distorted before it hit 70dB on the AVR test tone(was incapable of higher), and at about 80dB on the omnimic sine sweep. All of the subwoofers previously measured were no were near maxed at these arbitrary test levels I used for their graphs above. Those darn BIC subs can hit low 120dB in pairs at my buddies house and probably 115dB in my room. This little SW-8 sub can't break 85dB even in distortion. It's funny cause in the SW-8 thread I read one guy say he could hit 115dB in his room with this little sub according to his rat shack meter! I don't see how that is possible period - no matter how small the room, no matter how much bundary gain you were blessed with. The truth is I had a hard time getting the SW-8 above the noise floor in my room!!!! It just has so very little spl output to give in my black hole room!!!
Here is a look at the frequency response of the SW-8 when the graph is more aligned on the y axis to its spl capability - This is more of it's true ability for max spl, because this is at a point where I wasn't audibly hearing distortion in the track 2 sine sweep that the omnimic uses. The SW-8 is not very flat without EQ -- about a 10dB variance in the FR --- where other budget subs like the Klipsch RW-12D were actually flat within 4-5 DB in the exact same testing location also measured without EQ.
For what it's worth - when played at very moderate levels this subwoofer sounds good for music. I'm listening to it right now as I type this up at -40 with random dubstep/club mix off pandora with the sub running about 7dB hot and it sounds perfectly fine. The problem is it looses the ability to keep pace with the mains quickly. As I start increasing the volume, it begins to reveal its weakness. By -30 it seems to not be raising in volume parrallel to the mains, and by -20 the previously enjoyable subwoofer sound has lost its quality sound and is both bloated and unclean. So within its limits it sounds good -- but it runs out of steam in my room way too fast. I've been using the sub upstairs in the living room for the last week and while it was never loud - it sounds fine. But, even upstairs in my small living room I had trouble hitting the 75dB typical calibration setting, and my living room is pretty small as far as living rooms go --as anyone who has attended my sub meets will attest. Despite the SW-8's inability to get loud - in my living room I've been reasonably happy with the sub, as I'm not looking to do anything but fill in a bit of bass to the satellite polk RM7 speakers that I'm using for L & R channel. My wife doesn't like loud at all, and she barely puts up with this little 8 inch sub, so I guess it suits the purpose I purchased it for. It has reasonably good sound quality for typical generic use, and sounds much better than your typical home theater in box sub --- but probably isn't nearly as loud (though 'loud' with typical home theater in box subs is really just terrible sounding distortion, port noise, and driver's bottoming with any HTIB sub that I've heard)
Here's a picture of this little guy sitting atop my JTR Captivator.
In conclusion - this sub has pretty decent sound quality for the price. It does sound accurate within its limits and will fit the bill for a VERY small entertainment room, bedroom music listening, or perhaps an oversized pair of headphones. However, I cannot recommend this sub for any enthusiast system. It rolls off hard at 32hz and has absolutely no volume capability whatsoever. Secondary casual systems or PC based speaker setups only need apply.
Yep. Probably a good substitute for a Logitech sub, but not much beyond that (lol).
Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
Living room HT: Energy RC-50, Ascend Sierra Horizon w/RAAL, Ascend Sierra 1, PSB Imagine XA | PSA V1500 and CHT SS 18.1 | Denon X4200W | modified Dayton SA1000
Other rooms: CBM-170 SE | SVS SB-1000 | Audio-GD NFB-11 | Parasound Zamp | JBL LSR305
Headphone & Portable AKG K7XX | NAD HP50 | AKG K550 | Soundmagic E50 & E80 | DX50 | E12 | X1
I am a bit surprised at the lack of SPL you are getting out of it. Even though I am using two, they are in a 5000+ sq/ft room and I was easily hitting 75db on the radio shack meter while trying to discretely set them up with the gain on the sub at the 9 o'clock position.
Don't get me wrong I'm not saying they are heavy hitters either, but I'm almost wondering if something is wrong with the one you received.
Overall I am still very happy with them, keep in mind though 80db is on the high side of my normal listening volume.
The main issue I have with my SW-8 at the moment is that is smells. The odor is coming from inside the sub. I walk into my small home office in the morning and the room smells. The sub has been this way since it arrived. It seems like some material inside the sub is off-gassing. I assumed it would have been gone by now (over a week). I am wondering if any other owner notices an odor coming from the port on the sub?
Some critter climbed in the port and died?
Actually a while back, I caught my kids hamster trying to climb into the port of a different subwoofer. Would have been a hassle to get that thing out of there. But in this case, the SW-8 odor is from some material used inside the sub. It is kind of like a new product smell that won't go away.
Is it a burnt smell or a "new electronics" smell?
Not a burning smell, rather a sort of strong new electronics smell that I noticed after unpacking. Normally that sort of thing goes away after a few days, but not in this case. Sticking my nose into the port, definitely it is coming from inside the case. I don't get this smell from either my C21 or BS21. Maybe I will have to open it up and determine exactly which component is emitting the odor. But the odor is there regardless if the sub is active or not, so I suspect some sort of material was used that is off-gassing.
It is a piece of equipment that smacks of "built to a price point" and is a homely thing. With that said, and unlike most of the box store crap out there, when played mildly, within its limitations, for music only, it has its place. Mostly in that it does not, chuff, boom, sizzle or vibrate too much. It is a fill the mid-to low end player and will not "hit" or floor you in any way. Said otherwise, it blends nicely with music and it is not offensive in the rubber band and cardboardy way that you think it it looks like and you think it will sound.
It is limited and I would not buy it unless its $80 bucks or less and its usage is within known limitations.
Not my usage was with lfe channel only. I have not tried it with the speaker level inputs, but given the test results above, i dont think my thoughts would change much.
I sure hope that it isn't getting quieter simply because your Caps are smooshing your ears!
This sub is really pretty much....
how do I put this?
I've been playing with the second SW-8 after my RMA was completed, and it did seem louder so I was hopefull it actually would put some better measurements up. The amp on the original SW-8 sub must have truly been dying. Sadly, I'm half afraid I've now kick started the slow death on the replacement sub's amp. In my short testing the amp plate was getting hot and a little bit of electronic/burn smell was detectable from the subwoofer port. sigh... I wasn't even pushing this thing hard... or at least wouldn't have thought I was compared to the other subs I've tested.
So anyway -- yes it's louder than my previous unit, but actually the measurements still aren't that exciting. Note: to get to the spl required to match the Klipsch RW-12D, the BIC V1220, the BIC F12, and the Cyrstal Acoustics TX-12SUB the little Pioneer was making so much distortion and port noise that the omnimic kept telling me I was using the wrong track to do the measurements. haha! Well that's a new one. If I turned it way down --- I MEAN WAYYYYYYY down - the omnimic would register the correct track and the warning message would disappear. ha... I could probably stop this addendum review right here.
nuff said right?
I regret to inform you guys who think you have found a little miracle that...well...you didn't.
This sub is close cousins to the dubious "one note wonder" sub living in haloed infamy. Too harsh?
Well --- realistically maybe this sub might produce 3-5 notes since it is actually quite flat between say about 35hz and 42hz.
ha....I'm only half kidding around. For music this sub doesn't sound terrible when kept within it's means -- but it is not a sub to be excited about, to brag about -- or to ball face lie to others that you hit 115dB clean in your room with this little underated monster. Instead -- it IS a sub to help fill out the bottom end for some satellite speakers, or to compliment a small set of bookshelfs in a small room for a consumer not bothered by accuracy or flat frequency response. THAT SAID --- I purchased it for my living room - and it'll probably still stay. In fact after this review - - how am I going to sell it? I have a cheap setup in my living room with a bottom line Onkyo receiver and a pair of satellite polk speakers. My wife forbids me to put a big speaker system in the living room but I managed to sneak this 8" into the picture and it adds a bit of depth and so does its job. For 80 bucks I wasn't expecting to hear the next shuttle launch in all of it's gutteral glory --- and you shouldn't either.
Here is an omnimic screenprint that shows the yellow highlighted complaint stating there is soo much distortion that surely I must be listening to the wrong track. I threw the average capture for the single BIC F12 in the exact same position for comparison. Notice 2dB spacing in this graph..
Here is the same setup with more commonly used 5dB spacing...it looks a bit stronger - but remember that it is being compared to a BIC F12 and comes up wanting in both frequency response and VERY much so in SPL capability.
If you have $80 dollars and that is your max budget this sub is good for you. if you have the ability to save longer -- do.
- Tons of port noise. It frequently seems louder than the bass being produced.
- I also have the smell coming from it any time it is used. Smells like stuff off gassing and it's pretty strong. I sit about five feet from the sub and easily smell it anytime I play music at a reasonable volume.
- It just doesn't sound very good. One note is probably exaggerating. But three or four is probably fair.
At $250 you can get a nice Jamo Sub 650
At $300 you can get a nice Klipsch RW-12D
I'd skip every sub below those pricepoints if I were you.
I bought a 10" 100 dollar Dayton sub from parts express years ago for my pool table room... that sadly has turned into a play room since around 2005 or so... It worked well with a pair of Axiom bookshelf speakers for music and seemed to have decent output.
I don't remember the model number but it's still sitting in my laundry room collecting dust next to the HSU MBM 12.
Been lurking for a few days now and this had to be my first post.....
BTW, thanks for the BIC 1220 charts. I was really trying to find something like that on those. Thanks for the work.
newegg also has the c21 at $50, the bs21s for $45.
so basically in my newegg cart i have two pairs of the bs21s, the c21 and thinking about buying the sw-8 at such a low price.
so my question is for just xbox gaming, is the sw-8 sub good enough? remember its only $75. or should i go for either the dayton 1000 ($110 total) or dayton 1200 ($135)?