Over the past several days, I've had the chance to test this sub out a little more. Still haven't been able to dedicate myself to a full movie yet, but I'm getting bits and pieces from different movies and music in with my free time.
I have this subwoofer placed in an awkward spot, inside of a cabinet under the TV. It's really the only WAF designated space in the room. At least I can open the cabinet doors though.
The fact that this subwoofer can be either down-firing or front-firing helps in this situation, as well as it's ability to alternate phase from 0, 90, 180 and 270. The "room correction" adjustment also really helps with the sound, much more so than I thought it originally would.
Sometimes you can't tell what is going to be a gimmick, and what is going to provide actual functionality. In this case, I set the room correction to "cabinet", and it really did make a dramatic impact on the quality of the sound while having it located inside of the cabinet.
So far in my testing for movies, (keep in mind, I'm just an amateur and using my ears and butt as the measuring instruments) I've watched some Avengers, The Dark Knight, Tron Legacy, Prometheus and Dredd. What I like the best about this sub so far is how hard it hits. The sound is very tight and articulate. No inane rumbling or or flabby sounds. When a punch is thrown, you feel it. When a gunshot is fired, you feel it. When a vehicle's exhaust roars by on screen, again, you feel it. You feel these when they happen, and you feel the impact of them. Not just low end grumble, but tight, punchy and distinct bass.
With extended periods of low bass lines, especially in Prometheus, it again does very well in being tight and articulate. My old Dayton sub would sometimes flail out of control with no real visceral feel to it. The tightness of the 550wi definitely stood up to the opening scene in Prometheus.
With music, it's definitely better than the Dayton. I think this much is apparent because of the fact it can hit so hard. Definitely helps with rock/metal music. Drum notes are distinctive, and bass lines are pronounced well without getting out of control during faster music. I listened to a bit of older Metallica, Filter, Frontline Assembly and The Eagles. What impressed me the most was The Eagles. With the "country" style drones of the bass guitars... Wow. Every line shook another part of my body.
Electronic beats with Frontline Assembly were powerful and again, well pronounced.
I don't normally listen to a lot of music at home, but this is compelling me to start doing it more often.
Adjusting this subwoofer took a while. Constant battles with the volume level, phase control and room placement corrector frustrated me at first for a while, but once I got it dialed in for the source I was watching, I didn't have to touch it.
The only complaints with the 550wi so far in regards to sound quality, is when the really really low notes hit. You can definitely tell when it drops off. The low frequencies are still there, but not as prominent as they were. Overall though, it's still light years ahead of the Dayton's performance.
So, someone coming from a low-end sub would most definitely be happy with the 550wi. While someone coming from something in the $500+ Internet Direct price range might be disappointed.
All in all though, having this sub blended with my Paradigm Monitor 7 towers makes for a wonderful home theater experience. If you can get this sub on sale (As I did), I would recommend it. I purchased mine at Newegg for $329 shipped. But, I'd be hesitant to do it again at the regular $499 retail price.
Once you get up to that $500 subwoofer range, so many other and slightly better options start to open up.