I have been shopping around for a while for a good sub to pair up with my A5's for when I listen to two channel stereo. I didnt want to spend a lot. I knew I wanted a 8". On the high end of the price scale I was looking at a dsw440. I really wanted the psw111. I could grab a 111 for just under a $100 through work. (I work at best buy) On paper it sounded good. It had a good bit of power in nice compact 8". In person it was another story. More on that in a minute.
Lately everywhere I turn I see rave reviews for the new Pioneer AJ design series. We sell them at work but the previous models where just junk. But after seeing another positive review on the bookshelves in the "Absolute Sound" magazine I figured it was time to give them a good testing. I spent quite a bit of time throughout the day connecting my phone and playing various types of music. Some of what I played was Alice in Chains unplugged, Blue Man Group, Moby, and Some crazy bass song my buddy had.
We put the Pioneer, up against every sub we had. Klipsch 10" 450 Kilpsch 8" 350, PSW110, PSW111, Psw10. We set the speakers to the same XO point and a similar volume level. It was played through a Yamaha avr in to a speaker switcher. The three of us employees agreed that the Pioneer was by far the smoothest, of all the subs. It didnt hit with the same force as the 12" kilpsch but it didnt have anywhere near the boomyness. It was literally bouncing off the floor on hard bass hits but it never got boomy or had way over the top port noise.
Then I compared it to the PSW111 which is what I was really interested in. We did this test using our subwoofer switch. I compared with TSI100's playing, and with no speakers other then the subs playing. I tried different crossover points, different volume levels. No matter what I did the Pioneer was clearly a superior sound speaker. It was always smooth. When I say smooth I mean liquid smooth. It was like a silk sheet of bass. So pleasurable to listen to. I tried to make it fail. I turned off the main speakers and played just the sub. I took the avr to the max vol level and it still would not bottom out or distort. The 111 was nothing but a distorted boomy mess. all you heard was the woofer bottoming out. I only got the Pioneer to sound boomy when I maxed out the XO.
I am still baffled at this outcome. I wanted the PSW to be better so badly. I dont understand how a lower power, 1/2 the price, and very much a budget sub could sound so good. Regardless I bought two and price matched Newegg at 79.99. I will have a better review sometime next week.
All Best Buys have them out to demo. I highly recommend demoing them. even if you are not in the market. If you do demo, use your phone or MP3 player. Here is how. Bring a 3.5mm to rca cable or sometimes you can use a 3.5mm to 3.5mm. Where the demo area is there is a blue box with a hole cut out and a volume knob poking through. Pull the blue cover off, its just a magnetic cover. behind that should be a yamaha avr. Just plug you phone cable in to the front inputs, select the proper input and speakers and listen. If you can place the subs on the floor. The base decks it sits on are thin steel and rattle a lot with the subs. Nobody will care as long as the music is clean and not overly loud.
Let me know what you think.
let me know what you think.