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Mini Polk AM1055-A (PSW10 / PSW108) subwoofer review

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A few weeks ago, I picked up a Polk AM1055-A sub (a.k.a. PSW10 / PSW108) to use in a small, two-channel set-up with a pair of ChaseHT WAF-3 speakers. I'd often wondered how a 50W, $99* sub would sound, and this was a good opportunity to find out.

(*It's frequently on sale at that price.)

Aesthetically, it's a nice little box with clean lines and a slick convex grille. It looks and feels well-built. It has line-level and speaker-level connection, and an "auto" power function. So far, so good.

I hooked it up to my Technics SA-500, ran wires to the WAF-3s and set the crossover to 120Hz. Then I played some music: Holly Cole, AC/DC, Jeff Healey, Iron Maiden and, just for fun, Bassotronics' "Sub Bass Excursion" (SBE).

At low to moderate volume levels, the sub performed pretty well. It played cleanly and provided a nice bit of thump when necessary. At slightly louder volumes, although it remained composed, it did start to get a bit boomy.

(The one exception to the above was when I played SBE: Even at moderate levels, the sub completely choked (severe cone flutter and port chuffing). I didn't dare turn the volume up any higher on that song. )

Based on the hour or so that I did play with it, my conclusion is that this would be a decent sub for a very modest two-channel or home-office system in a smaller room. I don't think it would work very well in a large room (at louder volumes) or in any quasi-serious HT application.

YMMV, of course.
LL
LL
post #2 of 11
Hey, you trying to muscle in on my gig testing the el cheapo subs???

How big is the room you were testing in? I suppose for nearfield listening -- like right under your feet -- a $100 sub might hold it's own, but to me it seems unlikely it would be able to do much beyond that. See how it does on Lord of the Rings.

BTW... what do you think of those WAF 3's? I had seen them when I was searching for things to add to my full range thread, and at that time I thought "yikes, what a homely looking speaker". How do they sound, any good?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:


How big is the room you were testing in?

The family room is on the main floor of my open-concept, ~1,880 sq.ft. house. At moderate volumes w/ music, it wasn't all that bad, but I wouldn't expect it to sound great if cranked for movie duty. I did also try a bit of demo in my home office - a 10' x 10' bedroom on the second floor - and it seemed to make more sense in there.

Quote:


See how it does on Lord of the Rings.

I would if I still had the sub...but I returned it.

Quote:


BTW... what do you think of those WAF 3's? I had seen them when I was searching for things to add to my full range thread, and at that time I thought "yikes, what a homely looking speaker". How do they sound, any good?

They're actually pretty sharp-looking and nicely-finished - even my wife thought they looked nice! - and aside from a bit of thinness in the midrange, they sound pretty decent: Clear, open, w/ a decent soundstage and good higher-frequency dynamics. They pair well with a smaller sub, crossed over at ~120-140Hz.

(FYI, in case you're not aware, but they're no longer in production.)
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

D'oh! I promise not to do it again...maybe.

You can test all the $100 subs you'd like. Even I don't want to hear what that sounds like...


Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

They're actually pretty sharp-looking and nicely-finished - even my wife thought they looked nice! - and aside from a bit of thinness in the midrange, they sound pretty good: Clear, open, w/ a decent soundstage and good higher-frequency dynamics. They pair well with a smaller sub and crossed over at ~120-140Hz.

I know CHT doesn't sell them any longer, and my suspicion was that no one bought them because of the appearance. Buy maybe it was just the photo's he had weren't the best.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:


I know CHT doesn't sell them any longer, and my suspicion was that no one bought them because of the appearance.

My guess is that they were orignally built as a curiosity item, and dropped because they don't fit in with the rest of the product line-up (larger HT monitors, subwoofers and amps). But I don't know the story for certain.
post #6 of 11
Thanks for the review. Rules this out as an option for me.

Are you sure the AM1055-A and PSW108 are the same? Here's a comparison from future shop (not the best source I know) of the two. Of note, the AM is $299 and the 108 is $99, one has a low pass filter and the other has a high pass filter, and the weight is different.

http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/com...526lang%253den

From what I'm reading I should save up for something better to go with my Polk RTi10s, CSiA6 and M20s for rears, and HK AVR2600.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunnster View Post

Are you sure the AM1055-A and PSW108 are the same? Here's a comparison from future shop (not the best source I know) of the two. Of note, the AM is $299 and the 108 is $99, one has a low pass filter and the other has a high pass filter, and the weight is different.

Yup, I'm very sure they're the same. For the 108, I used the specs available here and here (PDF). For the AM, I used the PSW10 specs available here.

Both have the same cabinet, driver, 50W amp, and speaker- and line-level connections. And they weigh the same: 11.79kgs = 26lbs.

The current $299 price on the AM cracks me up: When I bought it, it was on sale for $99, $50 off its regular price of $149.
post #8 of 11
So it works best setup in the middle of the room like that?

(just kidding )
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
It needed room to breathe...
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

At low to moderate volume levels, the sub performed pretty well. It played cleanly and provided a nice bit of thump when necessary. At slightly louder volumes, although it remained composed, it did start to get a bit boomy.

Hi eljay, I agree... I got this sub for free during a speaker promotion.

The box and driver are currently sitting in my closet as I have used the amp to power two shakers in a sofa...the amp fit perfectly mounted under the sofa and along with the two shakers, made for a very clean install.

I am getting a lot more out of this than I would using the sub alone...
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Free AND useful - I love a good story with a happy ending!
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