If you’re looking for a subwoofer below the $1000 mark that gives you high-quality sound for your home theater speaker system or listening pleasure, the Polk DSW PRO 440, 550, and 660 are worth taking a look at.
In summary, these are Polk Audio's lineup of high-performance and digital subwoofers. All three of these subwoofers offer simplistic aesthetics, high-quality sound, and seamless plug-and-play installation in a budget-friendly package. The overall specs of all three are pretty similar and even share the same user manual. As the model numbers suggest, the only exception to this is their output. The Polk DSW PRO 660 is the most powerful and offers exceptional bass output, while the DSW PRO 440 is the most compact. The DSW PRO 660 is also the most expensive, followed by the DSW PRO 550 and DSW PRO 440 in descending order.
Now let’s go have a closer look.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
Room acoustics, particularly room dimensions and speaker positioning, will have an immense effect on sound quality.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is why I'd hiiiiiiighly recommend you to check out this simple, 2D, online speaker placement calculator.
It's GOOOOLLLDDDDD. I've had an Acoustics & Audio PhD build this tool specifically for this purpose:
- Ceiling height: 106 inches or 8 feet 10 inches or 2.70 meters
- Most standard ceiling height
- Listener's height: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Average height of a sitting person
Central heights of speakers (measured from the ground) and examples to them:
- Soundbars: 30 inches or 2 feet 6 inches or 0.75 meters
- 8", 10" or 12" Subwoofers: 8 inches or 0.20 meters
- 360 degree speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Horizontal speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Floor standing speakers: 20 inches or 1 feet 8 inches or 0.50 meters
- Bookshelf speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Center speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
Side note: This tool can and will return inaccurate results for small, portable Bluetooth speakers such as JBL's Go Series. It will, however, deliver just fine for more powerful, packed bluetooth speakers such as this one.
ASAP Science made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (time adjusted video).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But much less.
Did you know you could also virtually hear any speaker online?
Crutchfield had recently created a tool that virtually simulates the sounds of many different speakers; such as those of SVS, Klipsch, KEF and B&W. Nothing will, of course, beat hearing the speakers in reality. But I'd still recommend you to give it a shot.
While you're at it, blast my Hidden Electronic Gems list to test them:
Overall, the sound is what is usually expected of Polk audio. Tight, clear, and transparent basses. As aforementioned, the Polk DSW PRO 660 has the most powerful delivery. The Polk DSW PRO 440 is the most compact due to its smaller size, especially for smaller rooms. The Polk DSW PRO 550 strikes a balance between the advantages of both.
While the flagship Polk DSW PRO 660’s 12-inch woofer and a powerful 500-watt amplifier provide the ultimate bass extension, the Polk DSW PRO 440 features an 8-inch woofer and 360 watts of clean amplification. The Polk DSW PRO 550 comes with a 10-inch woofer and 400 watts of power.
- Polk DSW Pro 440: 30-125 Hz
- Polk DSW Pro 550: 27-125 Hz
- Polk DSW Pro 660: 25-125 Hz
The overall aesthetic of all three is a minimalistic, no-nonsense black with front and bottom firing ports. The look is futuristic, meets minimal, and easily blends into most living rooms' decor.
The back panel is where inputs/outputs, power ports, volume controls, and the wireless adaptor port are discreetly placed, along with a power on/off switch. While accessibility can get tricky if placed too close to a wall or in low lighting, the overall placement of the switches and inputs are done decently enough and should be easy to get the hang of.
The Power Mode LED comes in three colors: Green (meaning active), Yellow (meaning standby), and Red (Protection). Detachable rubber feet ensure a firm grip on floors without a carpet.
- Height: 13.8 inches
- Width: 13.8 inches
- Depth: 14.7 inches
- Weight: 30 lbs
- Height: 16-¼ ínches
- Width: 15-½ inches
- Depth: 18-1/16 inches
- Weight: 41 lbs
- Height: 17-¼ ínches
- Width: 16-¼ ínches
- Depth: 17-3/16 ínches
- Weight: 45 lbs
Connectivity options on all three subs are identical. RCA inputs and outputs to connect with your speaker system. No wireless options are available.
This is how the Polk DSW PRO 440, DSW PRO 550, and DSW PRO 660 stack up against each other:
- Design: Tie.
- Sound: The Polk DSW PRO 660 is the most powerful, and the DSW PRO 440 is the most compact.
- Connectivity: A clear tie again.
- Price: The Polk DSW PRO 440 wins.
In conclusion, all three subs are worth your investment, and the right choice boils down to your individual needs. Go with the DSW PRO 440 for smaller to medium rooms, the DSW PRO 550 for mid-sized to larger spaces, and the DSW PRO 660 for larger rooms.