So we just recently picked up one of these subs to fill out the low end of our TSi300's in the newly assembled home theater at Casa Uilleann. I've not seen much discussion pertaining to this particular model here on the boards, and was wondering if any fellow users had input on their own experiences with this sub. We were slightly torn between the Klipsch SW-450 10", and the newer Polk PSW111. The Polk was $50 more than the PSW110, and the Klipsch was another 2 Benjamins more. Cost was a factor, but we would have happily spent the extra dough if we could have heard the $50-$200 difference in the other models.
Disclaimer: The following represents our very subjective and personal thoughts, feelings, observations and best guesses during our auditioning of these three models at the retailer. We ain't experts folks...but we loves us a great sub sound all the same! :p:D;)
First Impressions: The smaller 8" Polk PSW111 has the more powerful 300W amp as opposed to the PSW110's less assertive 200 watts. The Klipsch is the powerhouse of the trio with 450 watts peak. Having installed car audio years back, I know all too well that simply using the wattage rating as any sort of measure of one speaker/amp against another is a huge mistake and can lead to big disappointment in the end. That being said, I'm also aware of the tonal difference the size of a driver will make - in this case 10" vs. 8".
We started out with the 8" Polk. We listened to several tracks on a CD I made before we headed out to the store, including: Pink Floyd 'Run Like Hell' from PULSE (Killer explosion at the end and a great double kick drum finale), Some obligatory Dave Matthews (don't remember which tracks), Stevie Ray Vaughn: 'Little Wing', And The Crystal Method: 'High Roller'. The little Polk certainly had plenty of volume, but it just didn't sound as clean nor nearly as punchy and tight as I would hope a smaller driver could (should?) be. It had a slightly muddy feel to it's overall tone - something I'm willing to chalk up to a poor connection with a sub standard amp as is often the case when at the local electronics store. But the other two subs used the same amp, and very similar wiring so far as we could tell.
Next came the Klipsch SW-450. Wow. Just Wow. It had that amazing low, deep, rich sort of tone that one loves to hear from a great sub. Would the adjective 'buttery' be too out of line here?? :o It was, from our own perspective, a very nice sub for theater sound...but it just didn't feel to us like it had the tight musical quality that would also allow it to perform exceedingly well outside of the HT realm. Could have just been our own impression, and I'm certain there must be many many owners of this sub who love it for music as well - we just weren't feeling it though.
The PSW110 seemed to be the best mix of the two: the larger driver offered a lower resonant frequency, which we liked both for music and theater. Being a front firing sub, it had a slightly richer tone (to my own admittedly limited ears mind you). Its ported on the bottom side, so in a sense you get some of both front and downward firing benefits. In a perfect world, I usually tend to prefer the sound of a great sealed sub - there's just a punch there that get you right in the bread basket. :) And having seen so many poorly made car audio ported sub enclosures, and the one note monotonous bass curves they produced...I've always been hesitant to put a lot of faith in the design.
How of course, could I have doubted the folks at Polk wouldn't have done their homework though? In the store, the 110 seemed average to our ears. Good volume, good general tone, not overly muddy or boomy...but we also didn't get any sense of real power or punch from it in store either. But for $200 less than the Klipsch, we figured we'd give it a shot and simply return it if it didn't perform the way we'd hoped it would once home.
Well, long story short (yeah right! LOL) once home, we've really found this sub to fit our needs extremely well. We've got hardwood floors in our front room, and the sound is surprising to say the least. We're using a Denon 1910 to process our sound and the Audyssey set up has the frequency and levels equalized out rather well for the space. I'm certain we'll tweak things a bit further over the coming weeks and months as the speakers all break in and the tone warms up a bit. Music is still quite tight and the driver exhibits good control over a wide range of tones and transients. The punch isn't the sort of gut thumping, live-concert-experience type stuff you'll hear in an arena, but there is definitely a command of the low frequencies that makes one take note. Movies also feel well balanced, without any noticeable port noise or transient lag during explosions etc. At least - none that we can hear.
All in all, we're happy. The sound fills the space of our front room nicely, and will, we hope, continue to keep us happy for a number of years hence.
So - any others out there liking theirs? Hating it? Indifferent?? :p;)
All the best!