If you're looking for a high-end powered subwoofer for those deep bass frequencies with hard-hitting power, especially for those deep, rumbling effects on your home theater system which regular speakers won't reproduce, take a look at the ASW610 and the ASW610XP from Bowers & Wilkins.
In summary, these are not for the tiny budget, especially for those interested in the ASW610XP, which is well over the $1000 price range.
The ASW610 costs lesser though and is smaller & lighter. The trade-off is much lesser output power. Both produce immaculate sound quality signature to this premium brand.
- Do make sure to check out their side-by-side ASW610 vs ASW610XP price & spec comparison page here at Crutchfield.
Now let’s take a closer look.
Front-firing ports, a minimal, sleek aesthetic, and a slick, no-nonsense black finish give these subwoofers a very stately, serious but ambivalent look that screams audiophile. It is very evident that this is a premium product at first glance. Something your home will be grateful for in addition to the streamlined, minimalistic vibe which makes them very easy to blend in. The only possible disadvantage to this is that they won’t really pop out visually, in case you were looking for a more ‘flashy’ look.
The included rubber and spike feet are another big plus. These ensure a firm grip on the ground. The spike feet are perfect for carpeted homes while the rubber feet make sure the speaker remains stable and shock-absorbent on laminate, hardwood, tile, or vinyl floors.
The small LED indicator remains lit when the 3-way power switch is activated. The three modes (On, Auto, and Standby) leave it glowing in green or red. A subtle little sign of high-end quality that can make the world of difference and add value to your investment.
While the speakers could pass off as almost identical from a distance, it’s the size and weight which truly set them apart optically.
Bowers & Wilkins ASW610
- Dimensions with Rubber Feet: 12.25 Inches wide x 12.625 inches high x 15.5 inches deep.
- Dimensions with Spike Feet: 12.25 inches wide x 13.5 inches tall x 15.5inches deep.
- Weight: 27.6 lbs
Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP
- Dimensions with Rubber Feet: 12.875 inches wide x 13.25 inches tall x 16.125 inches deep.
- Dimensions with Spike Feet: 12.875 inches wide x 14.125 inches tall x 16.125 inches deep.
- Weight: 41.12 lbs
You may check out this comparison of Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Subwoofers.
Volume Level: Individual Volume Levels and inputs can be suitably adjusted to the rest of the speakers in the system according to taste.
Low Pass Crossover: This gives you a Low Pass Crossover and Low Pass Filter to adjust the variable Frequency settings at around 25-140Hz for a balanced and clean output from the overall system.
Bass Extension: The Bass Extension feature offers three settings giving you a very high degree of flexibility with respect to the degree of bass you actually want in the overall sound in the room. Keep in Position A for most rooms and try out other options for added power.
EQ (Equalization): This lets you choose an EQ position that best works for the environment you want to use this in. While the human ear actually has a very limited perception of both the volume and locations of low frequencies, this does give you the kind of added flexibility to add or roll off some frequencies for fine-tuning. Definitely premium stuff.
Phase Switch: Very handy when the subwoofer is placed far away from the rest of the speakers, in order to avoid frequency cancellations. If that’s too techie for you, what it means is that making adjustments here will help you create a more cohesive sound system together with the rest of the components on the whole system.
Do make sure to check out their side-by-side ASW610 vs ASW610XP price & spec comparison page here at Crutchfield.
Have you ever noticed that there often tends to be quite the opposite opinions about a speaker?
I can understand this for more "personal taste" kinda products like clothing, for example.
But for engineering products like speakers? Personal tastes and preferences probably still play a role. But shouldn't it be less?
Why is it that we can't set a universal metric for sound quality?
First time I asked this question to myself has been a pivotal day.
Because it turns out that in the mid 90's, Electrical Engineer PhD Floyd Toole came up with a method called Spinorama. This is exactly what he accomplished with this. Turns out that his book Sound Reproduction is like the bible of audiophiles.
Put it simply, Spinorama is a set of measurements that gives a comprehensive overview of a speaker's performance from various angles.
It allows you to compare the performances of different speakers before even laying your ears hands on them.
Isn't that amazing?
This is why Spinorama was apparently groundbreaking news for audio industry. Hence in the mid-late 2010's, most brands and magazines began publishing Spinorama measurements, despite the challenges of making such measurements.
Fortunately, now we have the Spinorama data for a bunch of quite popular speakers. Pierre Aubert put all this untidy data together and put it into https://www.spinorama.org/. This is a stunning source. Pretty valuable stuff from him right there.
All good up to this point.
Now there comes a caveat.
Since the sound speakers propagate are in the form of omnidirectional waves, all measurements are obtained in anechoic or semi-anechoic chambers (a super-quiet room where soundwaves don't bounce back, here's how different that room sounds [a mind blowing time-adjusted video]).
This is a problem because it means that Spinorama alone, unfortunately, won't give us all we need. Placement and reflections play an equally important role there too.
This is why most A-class brands (like SVS, Bang & Olufsen, etc) often come up with room correction features, adjusted either manually or automatically. The EQ adapts itself to the placement (room, corner, center, etc) for a better (deeper and more accurate) sound. Which is great.
Additionally they often emphasize the importance of placement, here is an example: https://www.svsound.com/blogs/subwoofer-setup-and-tuning/75365187-the-art-of-subwoofer-placement
The source code under Pierre Aubert's work is licensed under GPL (General public license). He didn't perform any of the measurements himself, and instead he compiled all of them into one place, so that makes sense.
At this point, I thought that if there was a tool that combined both the Spinorama with the room acoustics data, it'd be extremely useful.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there wasn't any.
This is where I stepped in and partnered with an Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD in order to achieve this.
We combined Spinorama data with room acoustics and came up with Soundton. A very simple, 2D online tool that allows you to:
- Reveal optimal speaker positions in a room,
- Test with real speakers from real brands,
- Compare different speakers and different positions in the room.
It can be very valuable for the vast majority.
The colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) listening experience.
It works the best with subwoofers since Soundton processes low frequency response waves only.
- Soundton is going to be, say, 80% accurate. Not 100%.
- Because, other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, furniture/windows in place also have an impact on room acoustics.
- If you want absolutely the most detailed room analysis, then what you need is an acoustics consultant. Mind you that's going to require deep pockets and patience though... assuming you find the right person and they get the job done.