Q:I have an old Canton AS 20 Subwoofer I bought over ten years ago, and it hums. I checked everything and came to the conclusion that it’s the power supply. Canton told me it can exchange the amp (including the power supply) for about 100€+shipping.

The question is: Is it worth it? I paid 300€ (euros) when it was new, so I really would like to get it fixed, but how much does a comparable good Subwoofer cost today?

- Jannis Decker

A: The short answer to your question is no, the repair is likely not worth it. The price/performance ratio of subwoofers has improved considerably in the last decade, so finding a subwoofer that matches or beats the AS 20’s specifications—8" driver, 60 watts RMS, 33 Hz to 140 Hz frequency response—is not too tough.

Since you are located in Germany, the selection of brands available to you is a bit different than here in the US, but a quick look at Amazon.de reveals a number of options that could work. For example, Canton offers the AS 85.2, which has a similar form factor as the AS 20 but possesses significantly better specifications (10" driver, 25Hz to 200 Hz frequency response) and costs 230€ (euros). That alone should offer a big hint how far subs have come since you bought that AS 20.

For the 100€ cost of the repair, you could get a decent economy subwoofer like Yamaha’s YST-SW012 (100€), that still manages to match or beat the AS 20 in terms of overall specs. If you factor in the cost of shipping your broken sub to and from the repair facility, shopping for a budget sub is an approach could wind up costing you less—you might even want to think about buying two such subwoofers.

Another factor to consider is the warranty. If you buy a new subwoofer, it’ll be covered by the manufacturer. Plus, you’ll have the option of adding extended warranty, if you so desire. How long is the repair guaranteed for? My guess is not for very long.

Although I’ve mentioned a couple of specific subwoofers to consider, the reality is there are tons of options out there to choose from. My advice is to set a reasonable budget and browse through what’s available on Amazon, as well as any other retailers that serve the area where you live. Then, compile a short list of subwoofers that fit your budget and have garnered good reviews. If you can find a store to audition any of them, that's a plus. Optionally, you could post your list in the subwoofers, bass, and transducers forum for feedback.

One thing is for sure, in the time since you bought that AS 20, the performance of affordable subwoofers has improved a great deal. I don’t know exactly how much it would cost to buy a subwoofer that merely matches the performance of your current Canton, but I do know that if you were to spend 200-300€ on a carefully chosen modern subwoofer, you will find something that delivers superior performance when compared to your old sub.


If you’ve got an AV question, please send it to Scott Wilkinson ([email protected]) or Mark Henninger (imagic, [email protected]) via PM or email.