Polk PSW10 Omnimic Frequency Response Graphs - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 12 Old 02-09-2013, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Archaea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 5,633
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Liked: 479
This thread is the next addition in my frequency response graph reviews series. Today, up for review is the Polk PSW10 subwoofer. I'm borrowing this subwoofer from a friend, who I've given more than a little grief to in his subwoofer search and consummate ill-advised Polk Audio subwoofer purchase. My friend paid $80 on sale, and my own recent experience with $80 subwoofers was an utter disappointment. So, truly I wasn't expecting much from this subwoofer. I've come to affectionately call his sub a subparwoofer, before even hearing it. Judgmental? yes -- sorry - I suppose I've become a bit of a subwoofer snob after hearing so many different pieces of high quality equipment in the last couple years. Here is my current rap sheet. Yet you know what? I found my friends assertion generally correct when he says this sub is good enough for someone who doesn't otherwise know what they are missing.

Previously in this review series, I've measured the Klipsch RW-12D, the BIC F12 and BIC V1220, the Pioneer SW-8, and the Crystal Acoustics TX-12SUB.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1390563
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1391243
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1401651
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1408856

Of course I've measured a LOT more than just these prior listed subs in the multiple audio meets I've attended and hosted, but many of the other measurements, even those taken in my own room for the 2011, and 2012 subwoofer meets, weren't taken under the same conditions (not measured with the same placement, crossover, levels etc) and thus weren't apples to apples comparisons as these sub measurements are.

I measured this Polk PSW10 in the same way I measured the aforementioned Pioneer SW-8, the BIC F12, BIC V1220, the Klipsch RW-12D, and the Crystal Acoustics TX-12SUB. 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 then proceeded to measure the sub in my 3500 cubic foot room using Omnimic. Distance calibrations for the sub in the Onkyo receiver were accurately set. The frequency response graphs were all taken with no smoothing but averaged over 10 captures each from my main listening position. I unhook the mains and attempt to get the spl levels of the sub into at least the mid 90's and then capture a frequency response from a like microphone and subwoofer placement in the room. The Omnimic is located in my main listening position, and the sub is placed in the traditionally optimal spot in my room to display a flat frequency response (front left wall - 1/3 of the way in - driver facing front left corner). Each driver's associated frequency response may be able to be optimized a bit from this standardized location, but for the purposes of like testing I've tried to keep the placement and facing as identical as possible. In most cases the frequency response capture does not exhibit max clean volume - in this particular case the frequency response captured in the graph was beyond max clean volume, but not to max overall volume. I was definitively hearing port noise while taking the frequency response using the omnimic track 2, but the sub had exhibited no compression in frequency response. The entire bandwidth of frequency response was rising in parallel to the arbitrary stopping point in the mid 90 dB range where I aimed to try to mesh with the other reviews so far. (sans the pathetic Pioneer SW-8 review unit)

I initially played with some test tones and found that I could not hear a 20hz test tone at all from this unit. (I definitely can hear this test tone with a capable sub - IE the JTR Captivators play a 20hz test tone with visceral brutality - they can very nearly control your breathing) I could only faintly hear a 25hz tone and as I increased the test tones up in 5hz increments to try to find the port tune. I realized during this process that this subwoofer is pretty severely under ported - typical of most budget subs. I could hear port noise clearly up to about 50hz. 50hz test tone had no port noise, 45hz test tone had port noise. So take from that what you will. The volumes for this test were 80-90dB range. You could still hear the tones lower than 50hz - the purity of the tone was just lost somewhat due to port noise. The average consumer for this product is not listening to sine wave test tones - and in real world use the port noise is far less obvious. In fact, in real world use the bass, while not especially clean, is surprisingly plentiful. The sub driver really gets moving, and when the mains are engaged you can enjoy spirited subwoofer listening to about the 90 or 95dB level c weighted in room as you edge towards to top end of the sub's clean playback spl levels. You can go louder - but the sub starts huffing, and the sound becomes increasingly unpleasant. It is more than I would have expected from the little 50 watt powerplant. (100watt peak) I will say this sub is significantly superior to the Pioneer SW-8 I own and have reviewed (also rated at 50watt). The Pioneer couldn't do half of what this sub was doing in my theater room. I'm starting to agree with my friend. This sub would suit the average Joe non audio enthusiast just fine. It's something my uncle or cousin who just wants something to fill in the bottom end would likely be most pleased with. Listening to dubstep most of the music is okay at the 90dB level. Listening to top 40 type music you can approach the 95dB level. Especially bass heavy music will need be backed off a bit. The sub is most comfortable in the <90dB range for bass heavy music.

When you try to turn this sub up above 95dB or thereabouts you can quickly begin to see why ported subs have a bad reputation to the general public. All the flaws rear their ugly head, port noise, boomy sloppy sound. These are design tradeoffs. What you get with a ported sub alignment is more output to port tune, which allows the vendor to effectively double the 'deeper' output on the cheapest of driver and amp components, and then below port tune - well you get sloppy mess. This is a budget sub. Don't take it that loud. Just back off the volume and begin to enjoy it again. If you buy this sub and it sounds sloppy, then YOU didn't buy enough sub. There is nothing wrong with 'ported' sub design - especially among the higher priced, more capable ported subs. Don't go spreading that nonsense.

This subwoofer has a decent limiter mechanism, as I never bottomed out the driver in normal listening, not even when playing Bass I Love You with it's 15 and 7hz notes. The driver excursion went wild (to no real audible effect or tactile feel) but on the bright side I didn't hear a clank or other bad noise when playing back at ~ 85dB levels. What are you missing with this sub? Well - volume, pant leg flapping capability, depth of note. Listening to Dallas Wind Symphony - The Vikings, the pipe organ low notes do jack crap. Contrast that with my Captivators which shake the foundation of my home, and the gelatinous liquid in the back of my eye sockets at the same volumes in their depth of note. But then the Captivators cost $3K for a pair of passive + a 5000 watt amp cost, and this sub cost $80 on sale.

Value?

Yeah this sub is easily worth $80 for a casual audio setup. I've definitely heard much worse - I OWN much worse. Hey Mike, you want to try that little runt of a Pioneer SW-8? tongue.gif Then maybe you'll forgive me for giving you such a hard time about buying this unit. Sad thing is - The Pioneer SW-8 and this unit both have 4.5 and 5 star ratings most anywhere you look. Dozens of reviewers can't be wrong right? Well -- they aren't necessarily wrong --- they just don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes. biggrin.gifcool.gif

How about relative to other budget subs??? The BIC F12 is superior in sound quality, volume capability, frequency response, and exhibits less port noise -- but it costs twice as much. The Klipsch RW-12D is a significant step above the BIC F12, but it is 3x's the cost at the current Newegg closeout. For $80 - $100 this sub just became my recommended bare budget recommendation. I've updated my list. It won't do everything right - but it does enough right to be enjoyable in a small to medium sized room. I'd expect it'll best most medium tier "home theater in box" subs. Keep your expectations for reasonable playback levels in check and figure the price in with your rating and this truly is a "good" subwoofer... ... ... for those that haven't heard better.

Honestly --- It has my recommendation for the hardcore budget buyer.




Omnimic Frequency Response Graphs - 2dB spacing on Y axis. (Note for the FR capture with port noise, I was just attempting to capture a FR response to align with the BIC F12 and Klipsch RW-12D subs in the mid 90dB range. The $200 BIC and $300 Klipsch do not exhibit port noise at these volume playback levels --- though the $750 Crystal Acoustics sub DID exhibit port noise at these volumes) The second FR graph at a lower level is about the PSW10 sub's max capability without exhibiting noticeable port noise from my main listening position about 10 feet away from the sub.



These are the same Omnimic Frequency Reponse Graphs with more typical 5dB spacing on Y axis.



Here is the Polk PSW10 compared to the superior BIC F12 with both subs playing at comfortable volumes with no port noise.


Here is the Polk PSW10 compared to the inferior Pioneer SW-8 with both subs playing into port noise and distress
its phillip likes this.

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"
Archaea's Theatre Room
2011 KC Sub Shootout
2012 KC Blind Sub Shootout
My Subwoofer Recommendations by Pricepoint
Archaea is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 12 Old 02-10-2013, 07:48 PM
Advanced Member
 
its phillip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: fort worth, tx
Posts: 740
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 53
thanks for taking the time to do this. i'll still advise people to save their money when asking about this sub, and i'll use this post for reference biggrin.gif

its phillip is offline  
post #3 of 12 Old 02-11-2013, 05:07 AM
AVS Special Member
 
67jason's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,871
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked: 778
so in other words, the psw10is the "best" bad sub you can buy! tongue.gif

any chance of getting your hands on a psw505? I'm curious how it would fair compared to the other budget subs you have done thus far.

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
LOL!
Why you wouldn't want to join this forum
67jason is online now  
post #4 of 12 Old 02-11-2013, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Archaea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 5,633
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Liked: 479
Gorilla83 owned both psw505 and rw12d. He believed the rw12d was the superior sub for the same money.

I have heard the psw505 at Gorilla83's place, it was ok. I'm sure, based on Polk's product line and numbering scheme it was better than this psw10, but I do recall his definitive tech speakers sounded better with the psw505 off than they did with it on. That's never a good starting point. I didn't see the avr settings but Gorilla83 is an experienced guy here and I doubt improper settings were at fault. I remember the bass being kind of loose on the psw 505 - yet at $200-$300 it isn't a terrible offering either.

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"
Archaea's Theatre Room
2011 KC Sub Shootout
2012 KC Blind Sub Shootout
My Subwoofer Recommendations by Pricepoint
Archaea is offline  
post #5 of 12 Old 02-11-2013, 09:19 AM
AVS Special Member
 
crazyrob425's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,236
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked: 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Gorilla83 owned both psw505 and rw12d. He believed the rw12d was the superior sub for the same money.

I have heard the psw505 at Gorilla83's place, it was ok. I'm sure, databases on Polk's product line and numbering scheme it was better than this psw10, but I do recall his definitive tech speakers sounded better with the psw505 off than they did with it on. That's never a good starting point. I didn't see the avr settings but Gorilla83 is an experienced guy here and I doubt improper settings were at fault. I remember the bass being kind of loose on the psw 505.
First, Thank you for you work here, and I am quite surprised by the results.

Second I too would be interested in see the results of the PSW505 if possible simply because the current price places it neck and neck with the Bic F12.
crazyrob425 is offline  
post #6 of 12 Old 02-13-2013, 05:58 AM
AVS Special Member
 
wwinkler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: northern virginia
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_12_2/polk-psw-505-subwoofer-4-2005.html - Ed Mullen review of 505, little output below 30-35 Hz but still may be reasonable for music and some HT situations. “As expected, room gain helped considerably to improve deep extension, with the Polk holding flat to about 25 Hz, and then dropping to –10 dB at 20 Hz.” Polk sub amps have generally been quite reliable.

Compare to Archaea's review of the F12.
wwinkler is offline  
post #7 of 12 Old 02-13-2013, 08:27 AM
AVS Special Member
 
crazyrob425's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,236
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked: 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwinkler View Post

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_12_2/polk-psw-505-subwoofer-4-2005.html - Ed Mullen review of 505, little output below 30-35 Hz but still may be reasonable for music and some HT situations. “As expected, room gain helped considerably to improve deep extension, with the Polk holding flat to about 25 Hz, and then dropping to –10 dB at 20 Hz.” Polk sub amps have generally been quite reliable.

Compare to Archaea's review of the F12.
Doesn't compare as directly as a side by side test done in the same room in the same testing conditions I am well familiar with that test though
crazyrob425 is offline  
post #8 of 12 Old 05-12-2013, 11:21 AM
Senior Member
 
LowerFE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked: 35
I'd just like to add my opinion of this sub.

I recently got this sub to play with to see how a $100 sub sounds like. Unfortunately, it's not good, at all. This sub cannot even be compared to HT subs, so I'm gonna compare it to computer speakers.

The sub sounds quite good (for an entry level sub), but the problem is the severely limited output. I calibrated the sub with Audyssey on my receiver. On some bass heavy songs, I can hear port noise at -35dB on the receiver!! On most hip-hop/rap songs the sub audibly distorts at -25 on the receiver. In contrast, in the same conditions, calibrated by Audyssey, my Logitech Z-5500 is just starting to compress at -8 and it still wasn't audibly distorting (I stopped at -8 because my ears are giving out). The Polk doesn't even come close to the volume capabilities to a good computer speaker's sub (however it does sound better when it is not distorting/port noising)

On a more interesting note, this Polk taught me what port noise sounds like. All the subs I've had/listened to were either capable SPL speakers (need serious volume before hearing faint port noise), or crappy subs (mostly computer subs) where the driver started distorting long before port noise kicked in. At first I thought the driver was distorting, but then I realized it was actually the port after I stuffed the port with socks and the sub was playing cleanly. For anyone who wants to know what port noise sounds like without killing your hearing, this is the sub. It produces clean, reasonably distortion free (yes, I know) port noises at just above average listening volumes with bass heavy songs.
LowerFE is online now  
post #9 of 12 Old 06-07-2013, 01:51 PM
AVS Special Member
 
kesando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Queens, New York
Posts: 1,551
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Any idea how this sub compares to the Dayton 8 and 10 inch models? Thinking about purchasing a small sub for a family member with a Vizio sound bar setup. Funny thing is she just realized how much better it sounds compared to her Bose wave radio. smile.gif

Adding a sub to it is sure to blow her mind!
kesando is offline  
post #10 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Archaea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 5,633
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Liked: 479
This sub is only $70 at newegg right now.

At that price - for the hardcore budget buyer - this is about as good as your going to get.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1499414/polk-psw10-69-99-at-newegg

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"
Archaea's Theatre Room
2011 KC Sub Shootout
2012 KC Blind Sub Shootout
My Subwoofer Recommendations by Pricepoint
Archaea is offline  
post #11 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 09:21 PM
Member
 
SXRDork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 18
How many of these would you buy before you thought money was best spent on a better sub?

2? 4? 10?

SXRDork: SXRD is a technology. My name is Vann. Usernames are for life...
SXRDork is offline  
post #12 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Archaea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 5,633
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Liked: 479
max 2.


At any more than 2 you should probably start looking at the BIC F12, which will play quite a bit louder - but not really any deeper relative to capability. These are good for less than $100. BIC F12s can sometimes be had for $180 and likewise they are solid subs at that pricepoint.



If you buy these skip the Bics as the next upgrade stop. The BIC F12 has a very similar frequency response but can just play louder. Your next stop after these or the BICs should be something along the lines of $700 HSU VTF3-MK4, PSA XV15, or equivalent -- something that allows solid playback down to the 20hz range. --- but that isn't even on the radar at the 100$ pricepoint, and I don't know that you can do much better in the budget sector than this little guy. The polk sure shames my Pioneer SW-8 I have on a secondary TV in my home.

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"
Archaea's Theatre Room
2011 KC Sub Shootout
2012 KC Blind Sub Shootout
My Subwoofer Recommendations by Pricepoint
Archaea is offline  
Reply Subwoofers, Bass, and Transducers

Tags
Polk Psw108 10 100w Psw Series Powered Subwoofer
Gear in this thread

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off