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Great air pump to shake your room without ability to produce decent sound at lowest notes

A Review On: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)

Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)

Rated # 13 in Subwoofers
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Price paid: $199.00
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Pros: Price

Cons: Slow, muddy bass, audible 60Hz hum at mid volume setting with no muted audio

With over 700 mostly five star reviews and huge discount for discontinued product listed on one of most popular online merchant store, I was sure I can't go wrong with PSW505. But I was. If you never had any sub before, this probably will meet your expectations as for less than $200 you get massive heavy well built cube able to shake your room well. But is it all what defines decent sub sound quality? Certainly not.

First of all, this sub must have really poor amplifier/supply design as it produces audible hum with no signal being inputted. This 60Hz noise level follow the volume setting and is also affected by the length of connecting LF input RCA cable. Which tells me about poor design of the input circuit as well as power supply filtration including proper ground noise decoupling. This is not 70's or 80's anymore and any active subwoofer should be absolutely silent when no LF signal is fed. Unnaceptable, period.

Secondly, quick look at used woofer design might give a clue of why produces bass is slow and muddy comparing to similarly priced competitive products. Although driver is listed as 12 inch, the actual diaphragm diameter is little over 8 inches suspended on enormously wide surround suspension which for sure allow woofer to work with large displacement but it produces lots of distortion and may slow the bass reproduction which in case of PSW505 is clearly heard.

Lastly, this is back vented subwoofer design. This means most of people may have hard time to position the sub in order to get deep unidirectional distributed bass. The vent port blows as the main drives blow directional so the bass intensity dramatically changes as you change listener position against it or rotate subwoofer on its axis sitting in fixed position. There are plenty budget subs around with bottom vent design and these are able to produce unidirectional bass which makes sub location flexible and allows entire floor to distribute lows, which makes a big difference in sound scene not only for watching action packed movies but when listening traditional stereo in 2.1 mode.With that said, I cannot recommend PSW505. My experience with this product seems to explain such heavily discount offered for already discontinued product which apparently performed below acceptable performance level which I define as minimum required for decent HT systems out there.

The only positive thing that i can think about this subwoofer is the current price of $199 and free shipping with some selected on line retailers. But, does huge discount means PSW505 is worth it? Or maybe it means it's value for the performance might be even lower? Think twice before deciding to get one.


I auditioned many of the Polk subs at home and took them all back. I did not have a 505 but owned a PSW250 for years, my first sub. So with this said I am sure your review is spot on, thank you. Polk subs are toys and you need to spend probably at least $500 to get something decent, IMHO.
Thanks for reading my review. This was 1st hand experience to me and I tried to share my experience best I could without criticizing the product too much, although it turned that there was nothing much positive to say about it. However, I replaced 505 with PSW125 model and have it for past 7 days. I have to admit, the 125 is very musical sub and I am so positively surprised taking ownership of this puppy for unbelievable low price of $249. In my opinion, the main reasons why 125 is so musical is the fact that is frequency response reaches 250Hz range and it is bottom vented subwoofer which allow to distribute lows omnidirectionally across the room where it resides. I can't; say the bass is as well controlled as my other 12 yrs old B&W ASW2500, but it is free of distortion, controlled and crisp. For this price, it is a steal and I will be recommending it to everyone who looks for bang for the buck in sub category. Again, thanks for reading.